'Powerful Forces Preparing UK to Rejoin EU' says Former Brexit Minister
Steven Baker suggested the elite forces in the UK are seeking to keep Britain in EU
Senior government figures could be preparing to orchestrate the softest possible form of Brexit so they can allow Britain to rejoin the EU, an MP and former minister has claimed.
Steven Baker, who resigned from the Brexit department in July, suggested the elite forces in the UK are seeking to keep Britain in arrangements similar to the single market and customs union.
He called instead for an "advanced free-trade agreement" with "practical arrangements" on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
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In a video message, Mr. Baker said: "It may be that powerful forces within the government are determined to have a high-alignment Brexit, something like the EEA [European Economic Area] plus something like the customs union.
"That might be because they are badly advised about the cost of customs and the potential for new non-tariff barriers.
"It might be because they do not want to leave the EU and wish to create the conditions to rejoin it later, with all that would mean, no rebate, adopting the euro and so on.
"It might be because of secret guarantees were wrongly given to the car industry that nothing would change as we left the EU."
Business Secretary Greg Clark made a series of promises to car giants including Nissan after they raised concerns about the impact of Brexit on their factories and supply chains.
He has refused to explain the full extent of promises made to car manufacturers but did reveal the UK would seek tariff-free access to EU markets for the motor industry.
It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May faces an intensely complex set of negotiations - with Brussels, factions within the Conservative party, and the minority government's confidence and supply partners, the DUP.
The leader of the Northern Irish party Arlene Foster is traveling to Brussels to launch her own offensive and push for a deal that does not create a regulatory border in the Irish Sea.
EU plans for a "backstop" effectively amount to Northern Ireland remaining in the customs union and single market, to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
Mrs. Foster said that was the DUP's only "red line" and if crossed it would be "catastrophic".