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Monday 11 February 2019

Theresa May responded to Jeremy Corbyn’s unacceptable Brexit demands last night and confirmed the worst fears of Brexiteers up and down the country. Just as she did when facing down Eurocrats in Brussels, Theresa the Appeaser appears to be crumbling and preparing to wave the white flag of surrender.

The most disturbing part of her response, highlighted by Eurosceptic Tories like Jacob Rees-Mogg, was her refusal to flatly rule out a customs union with the European Union – a preferred Labour policy which would prevent Britain from doing major international trade deals with surging growth markets around the planet.

As Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Telegraph, “as the 2017 Conservative manifesto promised to leave the Customs Union it would be more consistent for the Prime Minister simply to rule one out.” Unfortunately consistency, and backbone, are virtues this prime minister has not made herself famous for…

A better model for the prime minister would be the Italian government, who are currently investigating the possibility of defying warped EU rules in order to forge a bi-lateral trade agreement with the United Kingdom to avoid any potential disruption caused by Brussels stubbornness in a No Deal scenario.

We want the closest possible bilateral ties with the UK and certainly don’t agree with any idea of punishment. You are our customer” said Lega Nord economics spokesman Claudio Borghi. A bit of common sense from a major European politician – we’re sure German carmakers wish their politicians were similarly pragmatic (not to mention the thousands of French who took part in the 13th consecutive weekend of Yellow Vests protests on Saturday)!

Whether she takes encouragement from the defiant attitude of Italy or not, Theresa May needs to wake up and find a sense of direction that conforms to the public’s decidedly pro-Brexit mood. A new YouGov-CER poll shows that 58% of Brits believe Brussels has behaved harshly in Brexit talks, with a similar number recognising that the EU will suffer from the refusal of their leaders to play ball.

With 35,000 people signing up to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party in the 48 hours since it was officially registered, the threat of serious electoral consequences for the Conservatives is very real. If May kicks this can down the road again and forces Brits to participate in another round of European Parliament elections, UKIP’s 2014 poll-topping triumph will look like a mere murmur compared to the earthquake to come…