Theresa May faces increasing pressure from senior Brexiteers to dump her Chequers proposals
Today, former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith will urge her to ditch the controversial plan in what he warns will be a “crucial” week for her leadership.
Number 10 is currently stepping up a campaign to “sell Chequers” to Conservative MPs.
Ministers have been told to visit Tory constituencies to promote the benefits of the deal.
Mrs May will also travel to Salzburg on Thursday for an informal meeting with EU leaders, where she will try to sell her Brexit proposal.
The Prime Minister, who was famously branded a “bloody difficult woman” by Tory MP Ken Clarke, told the BBC’s Panorama show that side of her character is “still there”, but saved for appropriate moments.
In the programme, due to be broadcast tomorrow night, she said: “There’s a difference between those who think you can only be bloody difficult in public and those who think, actually, you bide your time, and you’re bloody difficult when the time is right – and when it really matters.”
Mrs May also revealed that she is “a little bit irritated” by the current leadership debate within her party, adding: “This is not about my future, this is about the future of the people of the United Kingdom.”
She also condemned the language recently used by former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who is among those being tipped to take over from her.
Mr Johnson referred to part of her Chequers plan as a “suicide vest around the British constitution”. But Mrs May said his words were “completely inappropriate”.
On Tuesday, dozens of Cabinet ministers and backbench MPs will come under pressure from a new anti-Chequers advertising campaign.
The “Chuck Chequers” adverts – put together by the Nigel Farage – backed Leave Means Leave campaign – will appear in local and regional newspapers across the country in a bid to galvanise voters.
They will also run in dozens of towns and cities that voted Leave.
These include the constituencies of the International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire.
The Labour constituency of Stokeon-Trent – where more than 70 per cent of people voted Leave – will be another target.
In total, the adverts will be published in 30 newspapers with a combined audience of five million.
Leave Means Leave said that they will highlight the flaws in the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposal.
They will describe it as “same old, same old” and compare it to what they say are the “new deals” and “new opportunities” a World Trade Deal would bring.
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg will join ex-Ukip leader Mr Farage at rallies to battle the Chequers plan
Over the next four weeks, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg will join ex-Ukip leader Mr Farage onstage at a series of rallies to battle against the Chequers plan.
One, which will take place during the Conservative Party conference later this month, will see Tory MPs Peter Bone and Andrea Jenkyns appear alongside Mr Farage.
No 10 insists that those calling on the Prime Minister to ditch Chequers do not have a solution to the Northern Irish border or protecting car factories and other businesses dependent on a constant supply of parts from continental Europe.
Richard Tice, vice chairman of Leave Means Leave, said: “We have relaunched the Leave campaign and we will stop at nothing to ensure the Prime Minister chucks Chequers and delivers Brexit in its entirety.
“Leave Means Leave will be engaging with as many people across the country to ensure Project Fear is torn apart so the economic benefits of Brexit are revealed.”
Last week, the Sunday Express revealed that No 10 was trying to win over Eurosceptic MPs with a series of dinners at Downing Street.
Last Tuesday, diners were wooed over braised beef and potato dauphinoise, washed down with bottles of French red wine.
It is understood that at two of the dinners last week, at least one MP announced they had been persuaded by the Prime Minister’s arguments and would back Chequers.
Meanwhile, a furious row erupted after Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested that the UK might have to stay in the EU for longer.
Mr Hammond reportedly told other members of the Cabinet that the UK could stay beyond Brexit Day next March, although the idea was rejected by Mrs May.
Labour’s Emily Thornberry – a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn – said the party would not vote for Mrs May’s “flimsy” Chequers deal in the strongest hint yet that Labour MPs will try to bring down the Government and force another general election.
Her comments open the door to Labour MPs rebelling against the party whip and voting for the deal, for fear of a harder Brexit.
No 10 warns that without Chequers, the UK risks a “no-deal” Brexit in which we would trade with EU countries under World Trade Organisation rules.
The restored blue and gold documents will be in circulation from late next year
MPs call for free passport swap
PATRIOTIC Britons should be allowed to swap their old EU passports after Brexit for “iconic” blue ones free of charge, Tory MPs have urged, writes Kate Devlin.
A group of MPs are urging ministers to waive the fee for the first 10,000 applicants.
They have warned that the current passport renewal charge of up to £85 will deter those keen to celebrate the newly restored colour scheme.
Documents released last week show that the restored blue and gold documents will be in circulation from late next year.
The “new but old” colours will replace the burgundy passports that have been in place since the 1980s, but the old ones will be phased out only when people renew their passport – at a cost.
Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, who has tabled a House of Commons motion on the issue, said: “It’s time for some optimism about regaining our independence as a nation, freeing ourselves from the clutches of Brussels, and we feel this will help the feel-good factor.”
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