In what can be termed a major victory for Brexit British Prime minister Theresa May, after nearly two years of bitter factionalism within her governing Conservative party over what terms Britain should seek in its divorce from the European Union as the cabinet finally acceded to her plans.
Prime Minister Theresa May had summoned her cabinet to her country home on Friday and told her them either to support her compromise plan or resign, turn in their government cars and find their own way home; Her threats have appeared to work for now.
At the end of the day she announced that she had won agreement from her team to back a negotiating position in talks with Brussels that would keep Britain effectively tied to many European Union rules. By this action, she stood up to supporters of making a cleaner break from the bloc, and gave her country its clearest view yet of how she wants to steer Britain into a post-Brexit future.
It is however not clear whether the truce among the Conservatives will last, especially since Mrs. May’s negotiating stance is highly unlikely to be accepted by European Union leaders in its current form. This victory however allows her to move into a more serious round of talks with Brussels in an effort to reach a deal by March, when Britain must leave the bloc whether or not it has come to terms on a new relationship.
It was a pivotal moment for Mrs. May, who played up the drama in her effort to herd the more rebellious elements of her cabinet into line. Ministers arriving at Chequers, a 16th-century mansion northwest of London, were instructed to hand in their mobile phones and smartwatches on arrival.
The London Times indicated that replacements had already been identified in the event that ministers quit in opposition to her plan, and that anyone resigning would be stripped of their perks of office; including the ministerial limousine and forced to walk a mile down the driveway to meet a private car service.
With hard-line rivals like Boris Johnson; foreign secretary, deciding it was not the proper day for a showdown, the meeting ended with a declaration that the cabinet had agreed to seek “a common rule book for industrial goods and agricultural products.”
This implies that Britain would sign up for Europe’s rules for manufactured goods, food and other farm produce without being able to shape them. This means services, like banking and finance; a major component of the British economy would be addressed under a separate framework that would give Britain much more flexibility to set its own regulations.
While Mrs. May’s plan envisions that Britain would no longer abide by the European demand for free movement of people across borders, a key demand of the most vocal Brexit supporters which Brussels opposes.
It however foresees allowing goods to flow unhindered across the border between Ireland, a member of the European Union, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom; a position that would go a long way toward solving one of the most intractable problems facing negotiators.
The statement said Britain would ensure that “no new changes in the future take place without the approval of our Parliament,” though it acknowledged that failing to incorporate rule changes into British law “would have consequences” such as ending some access to the bloc’s big market.