May Under Pressure After Tory Hardliners Demand Clean Brexit

What is most concerning about the letter - concerning for Leavers like me, or Remainers, or anyone who wants Britain to come through Brexit...

"She is too weak to face down the fanatics in her own party and to deliver a final deal that protects jobs and the economy".

The list was drawn up by the Conservative European Research Group and was signed by more than 60 backbench MPs.

As the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg noted, the number of signatories on the letter is significantly greater than the number of MP's needed for a leadership challenge: 48.

"We are writing to reassure you of our continued, strong backing for the clear vision of an internationally-engaged, free-trading, global Britain which you laid out", said the letter, before offering "some suggestions" on how to achieve it.

Your Government must have the ability to change British laws and rules once we leave, rather than being a "rule taker" without any substantive say in whatever Brussels decides.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, a supporter of the Best For Britain against Brexit, said: "It seems the Prime Minister has one arm tied behind her back by the Tory militants who are now nakedly acting like a party within a party".

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"This isn't a letter, it is a ransom note", she said.

Britain must not be stopped from negotiating and signing trade deals during any transition period, they said. She will then set out her detailed plans in a speech likely to come next week, before formal trade talks begin in March.

The group of 62 MPs in her party demanded a tougher approach in a number of areas, including Britain's right to move away from European Union rules after leaving, and the terms of any transition period.

These officials fear the United Kingdom loses power in the detailed trade talks that will have to take place during the transition phase because the country will already have left the EU.

The signatories also demanded that the United Kingdom begin negotiating its independent trade agreements immediately rather than after it has withdrawn from European Union institutions.

Labour said the letter exposed the "deep divisions" in the Conservative Party.

The letter included a series of suggestions for Theresa May, such as asking for "full regulatory autonomy"; only complying with the EU's vision for a transition period "if the final deal is fully negotiated"; and make sure the United Kingdom can negotiate trade deals with "third countries" as soon as it leaves the EU.

  • Adam Floyd