Business patience 'at breaking point' over lack of Brexit clarity

Michel Barnier

"We have convened all across the United Kingdom to ensure that every business community's Brexit concerns can be heard by elected representatives and officials".

Meanwhile European leaders stepped up pressure on Mrs May to provide answers on her Brexit plans as she prepared for Friday's Chequers showdown with her Cabinet.

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment on the BBC report.

It is unclear what May will present to her cabinet, but those wanting a "clean break" with the European Union fear she will try to force them into a compromise on customs that will keep Britain firmly in the bloc's sphere, as desired by some companies and several ministers.

The latest Tory infighting comes ahead of Theresa May assembling her cabinet this Friday at Chequers for critical Brexit discussions that will include a proposal for a third possible customs arrangement which follows the PM's long-favored "customs partnership" and the Brexiteers preferred highly-streamlined "maximum facilitation" option.

Mr Rutte, who had a meeting with the Prime Minister in The Hague, said: "We urgently need clarity about every aspect of the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom".

He said: "Flouncing out, just when the going gets tough but when the EU Withdrawal Act has been successfully enacted, will look like evading responsibility for choices that were inevitable just when important progress has been made".

"The prime minister must stick to her righteous cause and deliver what she has said she would", Rees-Mogg wrote and referred to the demise of 19th-century Conservative leader Robert Peel, who found himself out of power when he broke a key manifesto pledge and split his party.

May has called a crunch meeting of senior ministers at her country residence, Chequers, to overcome bitter rifts over how Britain should leave the European Union and they will aim to agree the contents of a so-called white paper policy document.

There were hugs for May from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as she stepped out of her auto to talk over lunch in his official residence known as the Catshuis.

"We have given time, expertise and real-world experience to support hard-pressed Civil Service negotiators".

He said: "I am trying to support the Prime Minister's position and to remind people that any implementation deal has to get through Parliament, and if it is a bad deal, or it doesn't meet the manifesto commitments, people won't vote for it".

In his article, Lord Hague warned that the Brexiteers did not have the numbers in Parliament to force through their vision on a "hard Brexit" and urged them to think through the consequences of creating a leadership crisis.

"What I can't stand is this fantasy that there will be no economic impact at all if we simply walk away from the European Union".

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