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Theresa May hints she could compromise on Chequers plan in Brexit talks



Theresa May has hinted she could concede further ground to the EU in Brexit negotiations, as she asserted her Chequers proposal “isn’t dead”.

The prime minister was quizzed repeatedly on whether she would defy ardent Eurosceptics, including former Brexit secretary David Davis, who say the UK has already made too many concessions in exit talks.

“If they’ve got counter-proposals, let’s hear what those counter-proposals are”, Mrs May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show as the Conservative party conference kicked off in Birmingham.

“What my mood is is to listen to what the EU has to say about their concerns and then to sit down and talk them through with them.”

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Mrs May also hit out at ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who launched an incendiary attack on the “deranged” Chequers proposal and compared his record before the 2016 referendum as a Leave campaigner with hers as a Remain campaigner.

“I do believe in Brexit,” the prime minister insisted. “But crucially I believe in delivering Brexit in a way that respects the vote”.

Mrs May was supported by Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson, who accused Mr Johnson of spending a lot of time talking about his previous role as London mayor and “not mentioning” he was foreign secretary for two years.

“Some of the noisers off need to calm down,” she told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

But Mr Davis warned Tory MPs would vote down any deal with Brussels if Mrs May gives up any more ground.

“A lot of people don’t like Chequers – even more think it’s the absolute last step you can go,” he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

“We’ve made all the concessions we can.”

He added the EU would try to get the UK to sign up to more shared control, for example on customs or immigration, but that “she hasn’t got any room for that”.

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“I think Chequers will die one way or another – either in Westminster or Brussels,” Mr Davis predicted.

He put the chances of a deal with the EU at 80-90%, but warned of a “very scary few months” as Brexit day looms.

“That’s normal, that’s the EU daily bread,” Mr Davis said, adding Brussels would try to ramp up tensions as the deadline looms to get the UK to concede.

Challenged on whether he accepted any accountability for Brexit negotiations given his previous position in government, Mr Davis insisted he voiced his concerns to Mrs May at “each stage where I thought we were going the wrong way”.

But he admitted: “Of course, I failed to persuade the prime minister.”

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