As Brexit deal looms, ministerial resignation fears creep in at Rishi Snak – POLITICO


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LONDON — 2019 is a little gone in the UK.

The Conservative prime minister’s tortuous Brexit negotiations are coming to an end. Labor is voting for government to go one step further.

As MEPs wait to see the outcome of Rishi Sunak’s top-secret talks with Brussels, Conservative veterans of recent brutal Brexit battles fear serious problems lie ahead. ing.

Downing Street has publicly claimed that no deal has yet been made on the most controversial part of the Brexit deal, the Northern Ireland Protocol.British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said on monday There will be further negotiations “in the next few days” with the EU’s chief negotiator, Maroš Shevchovic.

Sunak knows his political destiny hinges on his ability to sell it to the ever-difficult Conservative Party, and he is taking his time to complete the deal.

But one of the former government advisers who was heavily involved in previous Brexit negotiations warned that the strategy of closing things at the last minute and then trying to sell the deal at high speed entailed “significant risks” for Snak.

“He’s repeating tactics that were once used. [David] President Cameron is negotiating a package by Theresa May before the referendum, and that’s risky,” the former adviser said, adding that Tory lawmakers and cabinet ministers were “struggled to do something by their leaders.” I warned that I don’t like to feel like I’ve been bounced back.

Of course, Prime Minister Theresa May failed to win party support for her Brexit plans and eventually resigned in 2019. Mr Cameron was forced to resign three years ago after losing in the referendum.

dictionary lookout

Snak is keenly aware that his own cabinet has already received three high-profile pro-Exit ministers with a track record of resignations over Brexit.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton Harris resigned as Brexit ministers from the government in May 2018 and 2019 over the handling of Britain’s departure from the European Union. Snack’s fourth minister, Steve Baker, who currently works with Heaton Harris in the Northern Ireland office, also resigned as Brexit minister in 2018.

Braverman on Monday fired the first Cabinet warning shot against the handling of the negotiating snack, threatening to unilaterally invalidate parts of the Brexit deal – a controversial Northern Ireland protocol bill. He supported former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s view that it should not be withdrawn. Order of Brussels. Mr Braverman told his BBC that the bill, which is currently pending in the Senate, is “he one of the greatest tools to solve the problem of the Irish Sea”.

Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman has fired the first cabinet warning shots over the handling of the snack bargain. Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images

One of the former Brexit-supporting ministers said of the deal that would not allow Northern Ireland to take full control of its own laws, nor allow British courts to be the final arbiter in them: “It certainly does. “It’s a matter of resignation,” he said. I mean, do you want to do it?”

Advisors close to Raab and Braverman declined to be involved on the question of whether he would be stepping down because of a potential deal. Baker also declined to comment. A source close to Heaton Harris said he was focused on getting the protocol sorted out.

One Sunak supporter pointed to the prime minister’s loyalty to Mr Braverman when he was reelected just a week after being ousted from the cabinet, and to Mr Raab over a series of bullying allegations. , evidence that they are unlikely to resign.

Heaton-Harris is considered “very sensible” by his colleagues, but Baker’s “total damascene transformation” Britain’s previous approach to negotiationsas one former minister put it, ignites Downing Street’s hopes that this time it’s ready to stay in the tent.

under pressure

But they and other senior Brexit supporters in government will come under intense pressure from their hardline colleagues for justice in the European Union in resolving disputes.

Others believe the cabinet’s resignation will be a cynical attempt by Sunak’s rivals to rally support for the party’s right ahead of a bid for future leadership.

A second former minister said, referring to a European Study Group caucus of hardline Brexit supporters, that “if he resigns, someone will use it as an excuse to blow things up to keep the ERG.” It will happen,” he said.

The European Study Group and the Democratic Unionist Party could “break the deal anyway,” they added.

No. 10 got caught in something of a communication trap while trying to secure a deal.

The UK negotiating team 7 tests of DUP According to one UK official involved, any deal is a top priority, and cracking down on data breaches is also an important part of trying to build trust with the EU. The approach prompted ERG members to complain on Friday that they haven’t seen draft deals and feel left out.

Another side effect of No. 10 holding the process so tightly is that the prominent ERG veterans manned on the front bench weren’t involved in the details until Friday, thus providing a sense of security to their timid colleagues. is that I couldn’t start giving

But there are signs last week that a deliberate effort was made to get DUP politicians on board. No. 10 foreign policy adviser John View traveled to Northern Ireland two days before Mr Sunak’s surprise visit to brief DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson.

Donaldson was shown a draft, accompanied by colleagues Gordon Lyons and Emma Littlepengelly at meetings on Thursday and Friday, but most members of Congress were kept a secret, the same official said. said.

Notorious DUPs

As in May 2019, Sunak said his chances of winning a parliamentary majority will be heavily influenced by the Democratic Unionist Party’s verdict that has frozen power-sharing agreements in the state over their opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol. I know that

House Leader Penny Mordaunt told Sky News on Sunday: “If this deal is not satisfactory for all communities in Northern Ireland, it will not be possible and it will not work.” .

Other prominent Euroskeptic MPs, including former business minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, have already backed the DUP’s position.

Without the support of the DUP and the accompanying support of Conservative MPs, Mr Sunak would need the support of opposition MPs to get a deal in the House of Commons.

Labor authorities are already planning for Sunak to vote in parliament, even though it is not technically necessary to implement the protocol. One said, “If he tries to force it without it, there will be more problems.”

Labor leader Kiel Sturmer recurring monday A senior Labor aide has warned that if that vote were to take place, his party would support the Snak deal. We apologize for the inconvenience. No hope of spinning out of there. ”

The precedent for snacks is not good. In 2019, Theresa May faced ire from her back venture when she started negotiating with workers to gain their support for her deal. We make it clear that we should never tolerate doing business with.

Simon Clarke, a Conservative back-venture and aide to former Prime Minister Liz Truss, told Times Radio on Monday that relying on Labor votes to get a deal “would be very unwise for the government.” ‘, he said. finished.

The second former minister quoted above was more outspoken in his assessment. “If they try to do this with the Labor vote, the Prime Minister is done.”

Dan Bloom contributed to the report

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