HARDLINE Brexiteer Tories today demand Theresa May walk away from talks if the EU is still refusing to agree a trade deal by Christmas.
Grandees led by former Brexit Minister David Jones insist the PM should call Brussels’ bluff that Britain will crash out without any deal.
In an incendiary letter to No 10, the Right-wing heavyweights turn up the heat ahead of the Tory conference in Manchester next week.
It says: “If the EU is not seriously negotiating a free trade deal by Christmas 2017, the Government should give formal notice that we will move to WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules in March 2019.”
That would mean tariffs on EU exports to Britain.
The Leave Means Leave group add: “There is no incentive for the EU to accelerate a free trade deal unless they really believe we would move to WTO rules.”
And they say Britain has nothing to fear from that scenario if the Government prepares properly.
Anger on the party’s Right has been growing about the PM’s concession-laden speech in Florence.
They claim Mrs May’s words “could indicate that effectively nothing will change” during the transition.
The letter also demands that during any transition phase the UK must be able to “negotiate, sign and — crucially — implement global trade deals”.
And they set a red line that UK courts must be sovereign by March 2019.
Former Cabinet Minister Owen Paterson, ex-CBI boss John Longworth and Sir Gerald Howarth are among the signatories.
Pensions Secretary warned No10 going ‘hell for leather’ to try hit the controversial target
PENSIONS Secretary David Gauke warned No10 against going “hell for leather” to try hit the controversial target, so far missed seven years in row, writes Harry Cole.
It comes as the PM was put under pressure by a dozen of her MPs called for a pause to benefits reform, and 76 demanded a cap on energy prices.
And as The Sun reveals, she faces a fourth headache from Hard Brexiteers demanding more aggressive negotiations with Brussels.
The multiple front rebellion comes just hours before Tory conference kicks off in Manchester.
In a pre-gathering interview Mr Gauke said of net migration into the UK: “All other things being equal, we should get it down to below 100,000.”
But he warned “if you found yourself in circumstances where we had a very buoyant jobs market and other parts of Europe didn’t, trying to go hell for leather to meet that target would be a mistake.”
Theresa May has fought off calls from her own benches to scrap the immigration target introduced in 2010, but currently standing at 246,000.
Hitting back at Tory MPs who want him to pause the roll out of the new Universal Credit benefit system, Mr Gauke hinted he would offer assurances to people in need during his speech to party faithful this week.
But last night not all the 30 MPs in Leave Means Leave’s organising faction had signed the letter.
And hitting back, No 10 insisted Government is preparing for all eventualities, adding: “We are working hard to achieve a future partnership that benefits the EU and the UK.”