Britain’s Conservative Party is in trouble on the home front as disputes over the status of Brexit have once again come into question following the controversial autumn declaration.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement marked a complete reversal of Liz Truss’ mini-budget, moving from significant tax cuts under Truss to around £55bn in spending cuts and tax increases to try and stabilize the economy.
Another part of new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to restore the economy could include rolling back the more extreme parts of the Brexit deal, instead adopting what’s known as a ‘ Swiss-style deal that would allow frictionless trade with the European Union. reported the Sunday Times.
Switzerland will retain access to the internal market, but maintain certain rules and payments to the Union budget. While the Swiss also maintain free movement with EU member states, the alleged agreement with the UK would contain no such element.
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Critics of the plan argue that adopting such a plan still requires alignment with Europe on a number of rules, which was one of the driving factors behind leaving the Union in the first place.
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A spokesman for the British Foreign Office told Reuters that such reports were “categorically untrue”.
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Sunak insisted on Monday that “the UK will not pursue any relationship with Europe that is dependent on compliance with EU law”.
Nigel Farage, mastermind of the Brexit party “Reform UK” in the European Parliament, tweeted a number of statements about the potential deal, saying Downing Street has “sold out Brexit”.
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He also noted that Sunak had appointed a stay in Europe campaigner named Will Dry as a special adviser.
“Sunak’s Tories will be completely routed if they try Brexit in Name Only,” Farage wrote. “I will take care of it personally,” he added, which was interpreted by a number of outlets as a possible tease for a return to the political frontlines for Farage.
He speculated that if the Tories passed a Swiss-style deal, the party would be “wiped out” in the polls.
“The result in May 2019 will look like a walk in the park,” he wrote on Twitter.
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Farage also told The Sun that he “didn’t rule anything out… if they really betray Brexit, I should do something.”
Reuters contributed to this report.