Brexit plan reportedly opposed by 80 Tory rebels

Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg

Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg

Steve Baker said the proposals were opposed by up to 80 Conservative MPs and would be overwhelmingly rejected by activists at next month's party conference.

But he said that, with Labour indicating it will vote against May's Brexit white paper package, it would be "fanciful" to expect her to secure parliamentary approval for Chequers.

Mr Johnson provoked outrage earlier this week after comparing the deal to a "suicide vest".

Mr Baker predicted the gathering in Birmingham could prove a decisive moment when she was confronted by the scale of grassroots party opposition to the Chequers plans.

"When negotiating, the prime minister needs to demonstrate her intent and also her power to deliver", Baker said.

He said: "If we come out of conference with her hoping to get Chequers through on the back of Labour votes, I think the European Union negotiators would probably understand that if that were done, the Tory Party would suffer the catastrophic split which thus far we have managed to avoid".

Steve Baker, a former junior Brexit minister who resigned over May's so-called Chequers proposals on Brexit, told the Press Association he was not advocating a change of leader, but said May faced a massive problem at the party conference that starts on September 30.

There is massive frustration with her leadership, her position on Chequers and the way her proposals tuck the United Kingdom closely into the European Union in perpetuity.

But does it mean we are on the verge of a coup being launched against Number 10? "It is not acceptable".

The MP added: "We're now in a position that if she won't chuck Chequers then I'm afraid the Party will chuck her".

Justice Secretary David Gauke said "an overwhelming majority within the Conservative Party" backed the Government's approach, telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "There isn't an alternative credible plan out there".

They have been under pressure to come up with alternative Brexit plans.

The meeting came the same day as former Foreign Secretary and staunch Brexiteer Boris Johnson condemned Mrs May's Brexit plans and branded them as "worse" than staying in the EU.

"It is absolutely no pleasure whatsoever to me to acknowledge that, but I look at the mood of colleagues and the mood of the Conservative Party in the country and I am gravely concerned for the future of our party".

Carrie Symonds, the former Tory party aide is said to have become close to, has meanwhile gone into hiding after abruptly quitting her role three weeks ago.

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