Theresa May insists she has ‘mandate’ to impose hardest possible Brexit

has insisted she has a “mandate” to impose the hardest possible Brexit, potentially imposing huge tariffs on businesses trying to sell in the EU.

Ahead of further debate on the Article 50 Bill, the Prime Minister said she had the authority to pull out with no fresh trade deal, if necessary – forcing Britain onto (WTO) tariffs.

Before the referendum, the Treasury warned that falling back on those tariffs would trigger an economic slump, forecasting a 7.5 per cent hit to GDP by 2030.

For that reason, some alarmed Conservative MPs will vote with Labour tomorrow to try to force a “meaningful” vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, in 2019.

They want it to be early enough for the Prime Minister to be required to go back and seek better terms from the EU if there is no agreement, or if MPs reject the terms she has reached.

It has been suggested that, if defeated in Parliament on her exit terms, Ms May would call a snap general election to win a mandate directly from voters.

But, asked if she had a “mandate for WTO tariffs”, the Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said: “There was a decision put to the British people, ‘do you want to stay in the EU or do you want to leave’.

“And it came back very clearly that people wanted to leave the EU – so, yes, the PM has a mandate to deliver on the decision of the British people.”

However, the spokeswoman suggested WTO tariffs would not be necessary, adding: “We are approaching this with a view that we are going to make as success of this and that we can achieve the right deal for Britain in the negotiations.”




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