The former cabinet minister and Brexiteer said the Prime Minister is desperately pursuing a withdrawal agreement with a clause which opens the door to indefinite membership of the EU’s customs union.
In an opinion piece for Express.co.uk, Ms Patel condemned “bully tactics” used by Brussels but said the UK Government is guilty of “ploy to keep the UK inside the EU by tying our hands to EU rules and maintaining the supremacy of European law in our country”.
And she warned that any deal based on Mrs May’s proposals for a soft Brexit would ultimately “deny Britain and the British people their ultimate freedom”.
Ms Patel said: “The Government’s political crisis which has been underway for the last year has entered a new and more dangerous phase.
“Each day we hear of new concessions from Britain to the EU all designed at stopping Brexit, stopping Britain’s ability to trade with the rest of the world and stopping Britain from taking back control of laws, borders and money.
“In 2016 17.4 million voted to leave the European Union and the public put their trust in the Government to seize the initiative and transform our country into a self-governing, free-trading nation once again. And at first the Government listened.
“But with the clock ticking and as the deadline fast approaches, the Government has made its choice and it has chosen to keep our country tied into the EU.”
Senior ministers are scheduled to meet early next week as Mrs May fights to secure Cabinet backing for her plans for the Irish border ‘backstop’.
The backstop is a contingency designed to avoid the need for customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic if the UK and EU fail to agree a way to facilitate an invisible border – a situation neither side believes is likely.
But to avoid Northern Ireland being cut off if the backstop does kick in, the Prime Minister is pushing for terms set out in her Chequers deal which would see the entire UK remain inside the EU’s customs union.
But Brexiteers have expressed major concerns that the wording of the clause could effectively keep Britain shackled to Brussels permanently.
And Ms Patel accused the Government of trying to hide its intentions by referring to its plans as a “UK-wide backstop” rather than “customs union membership”.
She said: “The public saw that the Chequers proposal was not a ‘compromise’ or a negotiating position.
“It was the public face of a ploy to keep the UK inside the EU by tying our hands to EU rules and maintaining the supremacy of European law in our country and the Cabinet all agreed to this.
“And since then the Government is now begging with the EU to be allowed to stay inside its ‘customs union’ indefinitely.
“This will mean that we have to apply the EU’s tariffs to imports, destroying Britain’s ability to trade openly and freely with the rest of the world. So we can forget Britain’s hopes of become a global leader in free trade.”