THERESA May was last night battling to hold off a fresh Brexiteers’ rebellion after she asked Brussels for transition period that could never end.
Britain’s appeal for flexibility came as the Government yesterday published its legal plan for the post-Brexit window.
Tory MPs also accused the PM of giving in to EU demands for new arrivals to the UK to keep residency rights until 2021.
The Sun can also reveal that four junior ministerial aides were hauled in for a rollocking by the Deputy Chief Whip after they were among 62 Tory MPs to sign Jacob Rees-Mogg’s letter of hard Brexit demands.
Parliamentary private secretaries Michael Tomlinson, Jack Lopresti, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Chris Green were all told they must always follow ministers’ lines – despite No10 publicly insisting they welcomed the letter.
The tensions rose ahead of the PM’s Chequers showdown with feuding senior Cabinet ministers today.
Mrs May previously stated the transition should last for “around” two years.
But under the revised plan, its length “should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement” a new relationship, the legal document claimed.
Officials included the controversial phrase to give them leeway if negotiations for a new trade deal get strung out for years, sources claimed.
No10 last night insisted a hard date will be written into of the final agreement, to be struck next month, and the PM’s timescale has not changed.
But leading Brexiteers were still seething, with ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith demanding: “Just take a red pen and put a line through it.
“The Prime Minister already saidthe sun categorically a maximum of two years.”
The Government also appeared to soften its red line on imposing new immigration controls after March 2019 by not challenging an EU demand for new arrivals to be able to stay in the UK forever.
British sources said they had come up against a brick wall of EU opposition over plans to restrict their settled status offer to those arriving before Brexit day.
However, officials insisted the cut-off date should remain the day that we leave, after which people arriving will face a different system.
The Dutch PM warned Britain needs to offer more clarity about its plans for Brexit after talks in No10 with Mrs May yesterday.
Mark Rutte warned the “clock is ticking” and called for swift action after the meeting in No 10.
The PM will hold a crunch meeting with senior Cabinet ministers today to finally thrash out an agreement on what to ask the EU for in trade deal negotiations.
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