HuffPost Verdict: Theresa May's White Paper Pleases Neither Brussels Nor Brexiteers

GETTYMrs May was handed letters of resignation by her Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary

The UK government's latest blueprint for Brexit released today threatens to derail plans for closer trade ties with India as it would prevent Britain from making the kind of concessions on trade in goods that New Delhi seeks, according to details of a confidential report.

Or to put it another way, a Brexit White Paper which was supposed to be the moment when the PM made her tough choices turns out - you guessed it - to be another delay in the toughest of her decisions, namely whether to permanently alienate her Brexiter colleagues or the UK's erstwhile European Union partners.

A banged up auto decorated with a banner saying "For sale - but no one's buying May's Brexit banger" is driven around Parliament Square in London.

So the plan fundamentally conflicts with European Union rules, as May was already warned.

The Government has published its long-awaited Brexit White Paper, which prompted two explosive Cabinet resignations earlier this week.

The turmoil in May's government over Brexit has erupted as US President Donald Trump began a four-day visit to Britain on Thursday (Friday NZT) and nine months before the UK's departure from the EU.

Trump did not exactly give May's plans a ringing endorsement. Former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said: "I would like having voted to leave, to leave, not to half-leave". "That is exactly what we will do".

Hammered out at Theresa May's Chequers retreat, the plan has upset Tory Leavers, who fear it doesn't amount to a "hard Brexit", with David Davis and Boris Johnson quitting their ministerial posts in protest.

On top of that, the Brexit Steering Group suggested that May's plans are incompatible with the rules of the single market.

Mr Trump also delivered a headache for the prime minister, just hours before he arrived in Britain, as he questioned whether the government's Brexit policy represented what voters had wanted when they backed Leave in 2016.

At its heart is a proposal for a new U.K. -EU "free trade area", with interlinked customs regimes, and identical regulations for industrial goods and agri-food. That would avoid disruption to automakers and other manufacturers who source parts from multiple countries.

The UK's customs plan will be one of the most pressing questions because Britain thinks it will solve the thorny problem of how to keep the border between Northern Ireland, a UK province, and the Republic of Ireland, an European Union member, invisible.

"With looser trade ties to Europe, the financial and related professional services sector will be less able to create jobs, generate tax and support growth across the wider economy".

The government has proposed expanding the EU's existing so-called "equivalence" regime, which now covers access for non-EU partners like Japan and the United States to the region's financial services markets.

The plan also seeks to keep Britain in major EU agencies, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the police agency Europol.

Director and chief executive Liz Cameron said: "We welcome the detail provided on the UK Government's approach to mobility, including the statement of intent to operate a UK-EU Youth Mobility Scheme and visa-free travel for tourism and short-term business activity". Under its proposed arbitration mechanism on future disputes between the EU and United Kingdom, cases would be referred to the European Court of Justice for its interpretation.

Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg colourfully described the plan as "the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200".

The UK is seeking three agreements, on economic partnership, security and defence, and cross-cutting co-operation - monitored by a "governing body" to set the political direction of EU-UK relations and a joint committee to provide technical expertise.

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