Rival Factions Gearing Up For Battle Over Brexit Plan B If Theresa May’s Deal Is Voted Down

 “The challenge for us in terms of our Common Market 2.0 or ‘Norway Plus’ proposals is getting enough oomph behind it in time,” the MP said.

“But the potential support for it is incredibly broad.

“What we’re keen to demonstrate is this solution is appealing to, and does appeal to, Leave and Remainers.

“One of the challenges with no-deal or the second referendum is they seem to be one camp or the other.”

If May insists on bringing back her deal Labour is likely to hold the key on forcing her into a potential plan B.

A well-placed source said the party was “not averse” to cross-party working, highlighting exchanges in the Commons this week between shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and senior Tories Sir Oliver Letwin and Ken Clarke on efforts to find a majority in parliament.

They acknowledged that the Norway model may once have won support within Labour but stressed that the party had identified problems with it, not least that the Scandinavian country itself would not support the UK having a similar deal.

Labour’s response will also depend on what May says after losing any vote. But the source said that the party is preparing to make daily decisions next week on whether to call a no confidence vote in the government if her deal is rejected by MPs.

Tory hard Brexiteers are meanwhile expected to underline their opposition to May’s deal by putting out an “alternative” written ministerial statement setting out plans for a looser free trade deal based on Canada and Japan’s agreements with the EU.

It will say the hated Irish border backstop can be dropped and replaced with a free trade deal on goods and a commitment from all sides that any necessary checks will take place away from the border.

The plan will also provide for a standstill transition period under the general agreement on tariffs and trade to give time to negotiate the trade deal.

Senior Leaver Steve Baker said: “We the Brexiteers know what we want and we know how to get it and it is very frustrating that we won’t get the opportunity to do it.

“We can rescue the position of the UK, the government and the Tories.”

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