On Friday at Chequers, the Prime Minister will gather her Cabinet to lay out details of a white paper setting out the UK’s plans for issues including trade but tensions over how to move forward with Brexit threaten to rip the Tories apart..
Outraged Environment Secretary Michael Gove earlier tore up papers on future customs options after his concerns about the plans were not taken seriously .
Brexiteers oppose the Mrs May’s option of a customs partnership with the EU, which would see the UK collect tariffs set by the EU customs union on goods entering the country on behalf of the bloc.
In an article for the Observer, Sir Graham – chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservatives – said: “The danger of disunity at the top of the party is not just that it makes the Prime Minister’s job more difficult in negotiations with Brussels, and therefore puts at risk the good Brexit deal that is in reach, it also gives an impression of division to the country.
“Electorates these days are volatile, but one thing is certain: they do not vote for divided parties.”
The Prime Minister announced she is launching a Conservative policy commission that will “go out and engage with people” across the UK to develop new policies that can “improve the lives of people in our country”.
She wrote in an article for The Sunday Telegraph: “The commission’s task forces will undertake the most extensive exercise of policy renewal ever conducted by a party in government.
“I want it to produce fresh, innovative thinking. Above all, I want to listen to the communities who voted for change two years ago.
“As I enter my third year as Prime Minister I am clear about my mission.
“To deliver a Brexit deal that sets the UK up to succeed; to press on with a programme of economic and social reform; and to renew my party in government to turn our vision of a stronger and fairer United Kingdom into a reality for all our citizens.”
The comments come as it emerged a private meeting with Brexiteer Tories was held by Donald Trump’s senior adviser.
Among the members of the Eurosceptic European Research Group of Conservative MPs was Sir Bill Cash, who spoke with John Bolton, national security adviser, according to the Telegraph.
Sir Bill said Mr Bolton “gave a positive view of what he believed the president thought about Brexit”.
He told the newspaper: “In advance of the president’s visit there were some positive things said about potential trade deals.”