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Dominic Raab: Britain would choose no-deal Brexit over soft Brexit

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Dominic Raab
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab
WPA Pool/Getty

  • Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is set to warn that the
    EU could force Britain into a no-deal Brexit.
  • He will Britain would pursue a no-deal Brexit sooner
    than remain in the EEA or a customs union with the
    EU. 
  • “If an attempt is made to lock us in via the back door
    of the European Economic Area (EEA) and customs union
    … then we will be left with no choice but to leave
    without a deal,” he is expected to say.
  • Raab’s speech comes at the early stages of a party
    conference in Birmingham which is straining already tense
    relations within Cabinet to
    breaking
    point.

LONDON — The UK would crash out of the EU without a deal
rather than pursuing a soft Brexit, Dominic Raab will warn today.

Speaking at the Conservative conference in Birmingham, the Brexit
secretary will warn the UK will be “left with no choice” but to
pursue a no-deal Brexit if the EU fails to offer a favourable
agreement.

“Our willingness to compromise is not without limits,” Raab is
expected to say.

“We are leaving the European Union in fact, not just in name. If
we can’t obtain a deal that secures that objective … if an
attempt is made to lock us in via the back door of the European
Economic Area (EEA) and customs union … or if the only offer
from the EU threatens the integrity of the Union, then we will be
left with no choice but to leave without a deal.”

Theresa May has repeatedly ruled out remaining in the EEA because
it would force the UK to retain the EU’s freedom of movement
policy, while a customs union would limit the UK’s ability to
strike independent trade deals.

Raab will insist that his approach to negotiations is “pragmatic,
not dogmatic” and say the UK’s proposed divorce deal “manages the
risks of Brexit.” Notably, however, his speech does not appear to
name-check the “Chequers,” which refers to Theresa May’s divisive
Brexit blueprint.

Several Cabinet ministers have stopped using the word because it
is so unpopular among party members.

Raab’s speech comes at the early stages of a party conference in
Birmingham which is straining already tense relations within
Cabinet to breaking point.

In an interview on Sunday, Boris Johnson launched a broadside at
the prime minister, describing her plan for leaving the EU as
“deranged.”

May subsequently gave a standing ovation in Birmingham at a
speech where Digby Jones, the former director-general of the CBI,
described Boris Johnson an “an irrelevance” and an “offensive
person.”

Raab, who campaigned to leave the EU, was appointed as Brexit
secretary in July following the resignation of David Davis.

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