UK Brexit Minister Slams Macron, Says Anti-Democratic EU Fuelling Populism

British Prime Minister Theresa May backed a post Brexit visa system based on skills. EPA

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said the cabinet still supported Mrs May and her Chequers plan.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, however, warned that Brussels' offer of a Canada-style deal would mean agreeing to customs controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, something Mrs May has flatly rejected.

Meanwhile, hardline Brexiteers piled pressure on May to ditch her Chequers blueprint for leaving the EU.

Speaking to reporters on her way to NY to attend the United Nations General Assembly, May said she welcomed a subsequent acknowledgement from European Council President Donald Tusk that the bloc still wanted to strike a deal.

Senior Tory Leavers including David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg attended the launch of a report by the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank calling on the Government to seek a "basic" free trade agreement for goods of the kind struck between the European Union and Canada, while pursuing "regulatory freedom and trade independence".

At the same time he said they were continue to prepare for a no-deal break with the publication on Monday of a third tranche of "technical" papers on the preparations taking place across various sectors.

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"This is about how you can have a fantastic Brexit that sets us up for the next generation and ensures our prosperity", he said.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson - who did not attend the launch - also earlier endorsed the report as "a very good piece of work".

Adding: "One thing that I would say though is that the European Union has a habit of spurning democratic votes, whether in referendums in this country - and they're trying to do that to some degree - or the rest of the EU". He added: 'We're now, bluntly, in a cul-de-sac.' But Confederation of British Industry director Carolyn Fairburn warned a Canada-style deal would create friction at borders, would not solve the Irish border and would damage supply chains affecting thousands of jobs.

Downing Street later said the proposals would mean "Northern Ireland effectively remaining in parts of the single market and customs union".

"From the Labour party's point of view they will oppose any deal I bring back regardless of how good it is for the UK, and they will accept any deal Europe gives, regardless of how bad it is for the UK", Mrs May said.

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