In what is being seen by hardline Brexiteers as a betrayal of those who voted to leave the European Union and severe links with the bloc, ministers have caved in to the demands of the EU, giving powers to the ECJ in the future, ITV’s political editor Robert Peston claimed.
The move will apparently ensure the rights of the three million EU citizens living in Britain are protected.
Mr Peston wrote in a Facebook message: “I am told ministers agreed that the European Court of Justice could after all have a continuing role in making sure the rights are protected of three million EU citizens living in Britain.
“Barnier and Tusk will be relieved. The Brexiteering ultras in the Tory party will feel betrayed.”
Ministers also gave Prime Minister Theresa May the green light to double the current EU divorce payment to around £36million, or possibly more.
The decisions are seen as a way for the Government to move the Brexit negotiations onto the second phase of the talks regarding a trade deal.
Handing the gift to the EU will go down badly with ‘no deal’ Brexiteers, like the Conservative MP for Wokingham John Redwood, who wants the UK to simply walk away without paying a penny to the bloc.
The move will also anger the likes of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, who both wrote to Mrs May saying Britain should be free of the ECJ after Brexit.
Mrs May initially said the jurisdiction of the ECJ would come to an end when Britain left the EU but she then appeared to backtrack on that stance saying in October that the UK could still be bound by the ECJ’s ruling during any Brexit transition period.
Mr Johnson and Mr Gove wrote: “There should be no question of the UK implementing new EU rules during this period, or ECJ jurisdiction on any new rules.
“Clarifying that in the minds of colleagues who have not yet internalised that logic would help.
“In short, your strategy means presenting ourselves to the world as a sovereign state capable of regulatory divergence from the EU.
“The more we can help you to articulate that the more progress we can make.”
Others who have voiced their concerns over Mrs May conceding too much or too soon include Jacob Rees-Mogg who said it would be foolish to up the figure at this time with political instability in Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel unable to form a coalition government.
Their demands come after Brexit Secretary David Davis said Britain would remain within the jurisdiction of the ECJ immediately after Brexit in March 2019.
During a speech in Berlin, he said the implementation period proposed by Mrs May would involve “keeping both the rights of a European Union member and the obligations of one, such as the role of the European Court of Justice”.
However, a Downing Street source played down any Mr Peston’s reports of the ECJ concession. He said: “It remains our position that nothing’s agreed until everything’s agreed in negotiations with the EU.”
Effectively any final decision over the size of any divorce payment – or even if they ever is one – as well as the situation with the ECJ, is dependent on what the final deal looks like, including any future trade deal.