Pro-EU Tories Tell May They’re ‘Watching’ Her Moves on Brexit

Conservatives who support remaining in a customs union with the European Union are “watching and waiting” to see whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategy for post-Brexit trade is something they can support, Nicky Morgan, a leading pro-EU lawmaker said.

May on Friday said the U.K. will pull out of the EU’s customs union, and set out instead two alternatives for how cross-border trade might operate. The issue is particularly significant for Northern Ireland, which has the U.K.’s only land border with the bloc. 

Morgan is one of at least 10 Tories pushing for Britain to stay in the customs union and using amendments to legislation in parliament to try to force May to shift her position. Morgan said they have time to allow May to flesh out her plans, before relevant legislation comes to a vote. The rebels have put their names to amendments on two government bills.

“We’re all watching and waiting,” Morgan said on Tuesday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Nobody wants to vote against their own government.”

Morgan’s remarks illustrate how May’s speech has succeeded -- for now -- in quelling unrest in the pro-EU wings of her party. Pro-Brexit Conservatives have also broadly welcomed the speech.

Morgan, who chairs the House of Commons Treasury Committee, also suggested that she and other rebels aren’t wedded to staying in “a customs union” with the EU. “I don’t think many of us care what it’s called, it’s a question of what it does,” she said. Any arrangements should avoid “guards and checks” and delays, she said.

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