MPs, party donors and Brexit report pile pressure on the PM
30 January 2018, 00:12
Theresa May is facing fresh turmoil among her own MPs and Cabinet ministers as divisions deepen in the Government over Brexit.
She faces the embarrassment of a secret study on the impact of Britain leaving the European Union being leaked. It had been meant only for ministers.
The study found that the country would be worse off under every scenario modelled, with the much-hailed benefits of new trade deals predicted to add just 0.3% to GDP in the long-term.
Adding to Mrs May's woes, The Times is reporting that some senior party donors want her to quit.
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The pressure mounts as the PM prepares to fly to China - taking her away from the political pressures at home but also stifling her ability to control them.
Despite the growing anger at her leadership, The Times quoted a senior Conservative MP as saying: "There is no one defending her but no plot to oust her. It's the worst of all worlds."
The impact assessments obtained by BuzzFeed News, titled EU Exit Analysis - Cross Whitehall Briefing, claim UK growth would be 8% less over 15 years if the country left without a deal.
Even the softest Brexit option - remaining in the single market - would see growth decline by 2% over the same period, it found.
And the recouped gains of new trade deals struck with the US, and other major economies such as China, India, Gulf countries and those in southeast Asia, would make up just 10% of the losses in growth.
Sky News understands it is a legitimate document, but still a draft.
A Government spokesman refused to be drawn on the contents of the leaked file.
They said: "We have already set out that the Government is undertaking a wide range of ongoing analysis in support of our EU exit negotiations and preparations.
"We have been clear that we are not prepared to provide a running commentary on any aspect of this ongoing internal work and that ministers have a duty not to publish anything that could risk exposing our negotiation position."
Ministers were understood to be receiving information from the newly drawn up assessment this week.
The leak comes after the EU took just two minutes to adopt its negotiating position on the Brexit transition period.
Meanwhile in Westminster, Conservative MPs aimed barbs at each other in a fight over the Government's perceived progress.
Former business minister Anna Soubry said ministers should "stand up against the hard Brexiteers, who mainly inhabit these benches" and "see them off".
But she was rebuked by other backbenchers who claimed the Government was delivering BINO - "Brexit in name only".
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has told hardline Tory Leavers they will have to "live with disappointment" and accept a softer Brexit due to "parliamentary arithmetic".
(c) Sky News 2018: MPs, party donors and Brexit report pile pressure on the PM