London – Prime Minister Theresa May was set to discuss Britain’s plans to leave the European Union with her cabinet on Monday, amid growing pressure on her to change her proposals for Brexit.
The cabinet meeting was scheduled to focus on post-Brexit immigration but has been overshadowed by May’s angry reaction to EU leaders rejecting her so-called Chequers proposals at an informal summit in Salzburg last week.
May blamed the EU for an “impasse” in the Brexit negotiations and demanded that it make a new offer to resolve a key dispute over how to maintain an open Irish border.
European Council President Donald Tusk hit back by calling May “tough” and “uncompromising,” suggesting the EU would not change its position.
On Monday, May is expected to come under renewed pressure to drop her proposals altogether on a common rulebook for goods and instead steer Britain towards a Canada-style free-trade deal favoured by leading eurosceptics in her Conservative party.
Cabinet ministers planned to tell May that an agreement similar to the deal Canada has with the EU is the only form of Brexit with which she could win a vote in parliament, The Telegraph newspaper reported, adding that a majority of cabinet members now support a Canada-style deal.
May is also expected to meet Guy Verhofstadt, the EU parliament’s point man on Brexit, who said he was travelling to London for talks with her and Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is responsible for immigration policy.
“Time is running out to conclude a withdrawal treaty that protects the rights of EU and UK citizens affected by Brexit,” Verhofstadt tweeted.
Britain will leave the bloc in March 2019 with May saying no deal would be preferable to a bad deal.