May faces fresh Tory criticism over her handling of Brexit negotiations

Theresa May has been hit with fresh Conservative attacks on her leadership as she attempts to steer the UK through Brexit.

Former Cabinet Minister Priti Patel accused the Prime Minister and Chancellor Philip Hammond of “negativity” as they attempt to lead the country out of the European Union.

Ms Patel, who quit as International Development Secretary in November over undisclosed and unauthorised meetings in Israel, told The House magazine the Government needed to articulate a “better vision for the future” after Brexit.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May meets with Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel inside 10 Downing Street in central London, Wednesday May 23, 2018. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool via AP)© AP Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May meets with Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel inside 10 Downing Street in central London, Wednesday May 23, 2018. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool via AP)

Hedge fund boss and Tory donor Crispin Odey went further and called for Mrs May to be replaced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove to see the country through the negotiations.

Mr Odey told the Observer the Prime Minister could not make decisions and would not see Brexit through.

Their interventions came as Mrs May’s Government faced increasing pressure to find a workable and swift solution to deadlock over customs and the Irish border.

Mrs Patel told The House that the Conservatives had become “lazy” and she heard “too much relentless talking down” of Britain’s economy.

Priti Patel, Britain's Secretary of State for International Development arrives in Downing Street, in London, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls© Reuters Priti Patel, Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development arrives in Downing Street, in London, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Asked if having two Remain voters at the top was part of the problem, she said: “I have to say, originally I thought it wasn’t. But I think it’s fair to say that there’s something in that. There is absolutely something in that.

“I actually resent the negativity.”

Talking about the wider Government, she added: “We are basically now at that two-year anniversary mark.

“Being bogged down in the minutiae is one thing. But moaning about Brexit in government and saying that it’s too difficult and talking down our country I think is actually quite shameful.”

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville© Reuters Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

However, she said that the party leadership should remain in place, adding: “They’ve got to deliver for the country. It’s non-negotiable.”

Mr Odey said Mr Gove should take over at the head of a much bolder administration that was prepared to break EU rules before Brexit.

He told the Observer: “Michael has got lots of attributes that make him a non-traditional Tory. He is very aware that he has to appeal not just to the wealthy, but also more broadly.

Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox arrives at 10 Downing Street in central London on May 22, 2018 for a meeting of the cabinet. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)© Getty Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox arrives at 10 Downing Street in central London on May 22, 2018 for a meeting of the cabinet. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

“I don’t think May can carry Brexit through any more.”

On Saturday, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox admitted Cabinet ministers analysing one of the potential solutions to the Irish border problem had met just once in the month since they were given the task.

The working group analysing the “customs partnership” proposal that would see Britain continue to collect tariffs on behalf of the EU was waiting for a report to be finished and will meet for a second time next week, he told the BBC.

A second group is considering Leave-backers’ favoured technology-based “maximum facilitation” – or “max fac” – solution.

Brussels has already rejected both schemes, with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier saying on Friday that neither was “operational or acceptable”.

The Government has been told by EU leaders and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that they want to see progress over the impasse on the Irish border by the time the European Council meets at the end of June.

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Simon Coveney, Tanaiste (Irish Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, arrives for the Arbour Hill 1916 Leaders Commemoration ceremony at Church of the Most Sacred.
On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)© Getty Simon Coveney, Tanaiste (Irish Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, arrives for the Arbour Hill 1916 Leaders Commemoration ceremony at Church of the Most Sacred. On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tanaiste Simon Coveney upped the ante on Saturday, telling the Irish Times the UK must produce “written proposals” for the border within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, civil servants have reportedly been drawing up scenarios for a “Doomsday Brexit” that would leave the country short of medicine, fuel and food.

The Sunday Times said this included models for mild, severe and “Armageddon” reactions to no-deal exits.

It quoted a source as saying that even the severe scenario saw the Port of Dover “collapse on day one”.

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union rejected the claims, adding: “A significant amount of work and decision making has gone into our no deal plans, especially where it relates to ports, and we know that none of this would come to pass.”

SOURCE: Pressassociation.com

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