May day: Johnson resignation piles pressure on PM, Twitter erupts

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"It is a worry that the Prime Minister was so clear that Brexit meant Brexit and that she had her red lines and these have now gone".

One pro-EU ex-minister called it the "worst of all worlds", while eurosceptics said the strategy kept Britain too close to the bloc.

However, the danger to the Prime Minister was underlined by the disclosure that Brexiteers had set up a Whatsapp group to co-ordinate voting tactics, organised by ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker, who quit over the Chequers plan. Her recent "white paper" outlining plans for a "common rule book" with the European Union over trade in goods has infuriated those who favor a complete break.

In his first column since rejoining the Telegraph, published yesterday, he avoided direct criticism of Theresa May or her Brexit plan. She said it would safeguard vital jobs in the aviation industry and keep Britain's tradition as a nation in the forefront of the aviation industry.

She said that would remove Britain's ability to have an independent trade policy and her government "will never stand for that".

A full-blown three-month contest would produce a new prime minister - and potentially an entirely different approach to Brexit - just weeks before the crunch Brussels summit in October.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis is expected to give his resignation speech this afternoon, which is likely to cover the same ground his interviews have done so far - namely that the proposals could leave the United Kingdom outside of the European Union but still beholden to its rules.

Anna Soubry, a leading Tory Remainer, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We simply can not go on like this".

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Asked about his outside earnings when he was London Mayor, Johnson argued that his Telegraph pay - then £250,000 - was "chicken feed" and said: "I don't see why, on a Sunday morning, I shouldn't knock off an article".

Jubilant Brexiteers believe Brussels will now reject the so-called Chequers plan, forcing May to think again.

Where the government might struggle is explaining its acceptance of the demand that the European Union must collect tariffs on Britain's behalf, if London is to do the same - a suggestion one expert said the bloc's negotiators were unlikely to accept. "I have come to the conclusion that.it is not what people voted for".

However, Labour is understood to have instructed its MPs to vote against the move and several pro-European Tories have already indicated they will oppose any attempt to cut short the term with so much work to do on Brexit.

"Others saying perhaps we cannot have the bill at all".

"So I would hope and expect that those of my colleagues that want to get on with Brexit would recognise that this Bill is essential".

The Chequers plan was "the only way to enable us to get a deal with no friction at the EU/UK border, to resolve the Northern Ireland border issue and to ensure that we can strike free trade deals around the world", said the spokesman.

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