The Sun reveals that Amber Rudd and Michael Gove have formed a cross-Brexit alliance to push for membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
The move by the Remainer Work and Pensions Secretary and Leave campaign boss Environment Secretary is a last-ditch solution to end an impending national crisis if Parliament fails to agree any Brexit outcome.
The wider European arrangement gives members full access to the single market, but freedom from agriculture and fishing rules, as well as the European Court of Justice.
The four current members of EFTA are Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland.
Under the idea – dubbed ‘Norway Plus’ - the UK would join EFTA to maintain economic stability for a temporary period of a few years while the Government negotiates a full free trade deal from a stronger position.
But the ministers will only publicly propose it as a final fallback when all else fails to be sure of enough Labour support for it.
That would mean after the PM loses the meaningful vote next month, and once Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to force a general election and an expected backbench bid for a second referendum also all fails.
Hopes are fast fading among Mrs May’s top table of success for her deal, after a total of 94 of her own Tory MPs had spoken out against it last night.
One senior Government minister told The Sun: “It’s failing away from us now. The opposition seems so strong that Theresa is going to really struggle to turn this around now.
“EFTA will be our default option when all else fails. Amber and Michael are already on board, and quite a few of the others in Cabinet are not far behind them.
“We’ll need the help of Labour MPs, so they will need to be seen to have done their duty to their party first.” [...]
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