The next Conservative Party conference could see a full blown Brexit rebellion.
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It looks like the Tory grass roots members are about to have their say on Brexit at the next Conservative Party conference in early October, as activists set out plans to protest Theresa May and her Chequers Brexit deal backing MPs.
"Theresa May is facing outright rebellion at this year's Conservative party conference, as aggrieved party members plot tactics to force her hand on Brexit.
"Activists are thought to be plotting protests against both the Prime Minister and Chequers-backing MPs at the conference in early October, just weeks before the crunch European Council to discuss Brexit." Reports City A.M.
Another move that may well cause major disruption to the party is the risk that Conservative Associations may be ready to pull the plug on long standing loans to their party HQ, with one source telling City A.M. that these loans from associations around the country amount to some £4 million that could be called in within hours.
Attending that conference doesn't look to be a happy prospect for the PM does it? 2018 is turning out to be a bit of an annus horribilis for her, isn't it?
And then we discover that the PM's Chequers based Brexit deal may well breach World Trade Organisation rules anyway.
According to David Collins, a Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London, The Chequers White Paper called "The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union" includes as a central plank the 'Facilitated Customs Arrangement' or FCA, where the UK will collect the EU common external tariff on imported goods unless the goods are definitely headed for internal UK consumption. And this may cause problems.
Professor Collins says that, despite there being some practical difficulties to overcome there are:
"….. at least two reasons why this may be illegal under the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) of which both the EU, and the UK (after Brexit) are members."
One of these is that it would place "…burdensome tracking obligations on imported goods which are not imposed on equivalent domestic products".
And another is that in certain circumstances where the UK tariff might be higher than an EU tariff, the importer would be entitled to a refund once the product passes into the EU, if the full higher UK tariff had already been collected on coming into the UK. This could then be classified as an illegal subsidy.
He ends by saying that if the EU and UK built the Facilitated Customs Arrangement like this into any Brexit agreement, it might end up being found to breach WTO rules meaning that it would have to completely dismantled or changed a heck of a lot.
Although he says:
".….it is difficult to see what modifications could successfully address these potential illegalities without destroying the whole purpose of the FCA."
Nothing looks good for this Chequers deal does it?
A hard, no-deal WTO Brexit or more accurately, the Full Withdrawal of the UK from the EU – a proper FWUKEU, looks more and more likely every single day.