PM lays down the law on Brexit! Cabinet Ministers summoned to Chequers to create action plans on making EU vote a success as May orders an end to ‘turf wars’

  • Theresa May will hold Cabinet meeting to order ministers to get along
  • Marks sharp escalation to assure Eurosceptics that Brexit will happen
  • Sources say the new PM will try to stop Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson, the three Brexiteers, from ‘jostling for position’ in Cabinet

Theresa May will hold a ‘back to school’ Cabinet meeting this week during which she is expected to order feuding Brexit Ministers to end their turf wars.

The meeting – the first to be held by the Prime Minister at her Chequers country retreat – will mark a sharp escalation in Mrs May’s efforts to assure restless Eurosceptics in her party that she is on track to deliver an early exit from the EU and will not fob them off with ‘Brexit-lite’.

Prime Minister Theresa May, pictured, is to host the first Cabinet meeting after the Summer recess at her country retreat, Chequers

It comes just days before Mrs May flies to China for the G20 summit, where she intends to hail Britain’s newly independent role on the world stage – and use the negotiations with fellow leaders to lay the groundwork for post-EU trade deals.

At Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, each Minister will be expected to outline in their own action plans how they will ‘make the most of Brexit’ in their departments by identifying the opportunities presented by the vote to leave.

But, according to sources, she will also ‘bang a few heads together’ in an attempt to stop the feuding between Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson – the Ministers who are on the frontline of the Brexit negotiations

Dr Fox, the International Trade Secretary; Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary; and Mr Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, were already wary of each other before Mrs May handed them overlapping briefs in her first Cabinet. The three Ministers – known as the Three Brexiteers – have spent the summer jostling for position.

Boris Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary in Prime Minister Theresa May's government International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said his department should have control over Britain's foreign commerce policy David Davis was given the new role of 'Brexit Secretary', which overlaps with existing ministerial roles

The Three Brexiteers: Boris Johnson, left, Liam Fox, centre, and David Davis, right, are said to be feuding and jostling for position with their overlapping portfolios

The simmering tensions – which burst into the open when Dr Fox tried to prise responsibility for trade policy from Mr Johnson – were not eased by Mrs May’s decision to force Mr Johnson to share Chevening, the grace-and-favour house usually offered to the Foreign Secretary, with Dr Fox and Mr Davis.

Mrs May is expected to tell the three Ministers – who held a private clear-the-air meeting last week to try to resolve the tensions – that it is time to ‘get on with the job’.

She will also encourage the three-quarters of Cabinet members who campaigned to stay in the EU to identify Brexit opportunities in their own departments.

It will be an unusually high-profile week for the Prime Minister, whose first 50 days in Downing Street have been deliberately low-key

It will be an unusually high-profile week for the Prime Minister, whose first 50 days in Downing Street have been deliberately low-key: at the end of the week she will enjoy her first meeting as PM with President Obama when she travels to the summit of world leaders in China.

She is expected to use the opportunity to gauge their ‘appetite for mutually beneficial trade relationships in the future’ and to explore a ‘new global role for the UK’ after the vote to leave.

A Downing Street source said that while Brexit will be ‘top of the in-tray’ for the Cabinet meeting, Mrs May also expected her Ministers to contribute to progress on social reform and a new strategy to boost British industry.

On Friday the Prime Minister launched a review into how ethnic minorities and white working class people are treated by public services, attempting to ‘shine a light on injustices’ in the system.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith is leading the calls from the Tory backbenches for Mrs May to invoke Article 50
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith is leading the calls from the Tory backbenches for Mrs May to invoke Article 50

The first meeting of her new social reform committee will meet this Thursday, with racial disparity a high priority.

In the Conservative Party morale has been boosted by new figures suggesting 50,000 people may have signed up to join since Mrs May took office.

Before they headed off for their summer holidays, all Cabinet Ministers were told to identify ‘the opportunities presented by Brexit in their respective areas of responsibility’.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith is leading the calls from the Tory backbenches for Mrs May to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty early in 2017 to trigger the two-year process towards Brexit.

Mrs May reportedly believes ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and will not offer opponents to stand in the way of Britain’s withdrawal.

The news comes as senior figures in the government have complained about pro-EU civil servants complicating the work of new Brexit Ministers.

Issues have been raised by government sources about officials in the Treasury and the Foreign Office for hindering the progress of the new Department for Exiting the European Union.

There have been accusations of jealousy about the new department, which could offer huge opportunities for civil servants, with one source claiming ‘If you do well there you have made your career,’ reports The Sunday Telegraph.

The source added some civil servants were also ‘miffed’ at at having to take the UK out of the EU, claiming: ‘A lot of these people are institutionally wedded to the status quo.’

Such claims cast doubt over the recent negative stories about the working of the new department, including one about staff having to hold meetings in a Starbucks.

Another stated the department base was spread across two offices, while one source inaccurately claimed that only 40 officials made up the department, instead of the more than 150 currently in place.

Brexit boost: Morale in Downing Street has been boosted by new figures suggesting that 50,000 people have joined the Conservative Party

Sir Bob Kerslake, who served as head of the Civil Service under David Cameron, told The Sunday Telegraph the problems were likely down to ‘frustrations’ and ‘teething issues’, and that the readjustment has been a ‘traumatic experience.’

Although an aide to Brexit Minister David Davis said he was unaware of any problems, Conservative Steve Baker MP called for officials who frustrate any work to be promptly sacked.

Fuel to the fire has been added by Lord Gus O’Donnell, the former Cabinet secretary, who said it is ‘not inevitable’ that the Britain will exit the EU due to the length of time the leaving negotiations will take.

The peer said if the EU reforms before Mrs May has begun the two year exit process the UK could reconsider its options.

Lord O’Donnel told Radio 4: ‘The key for Government is to have a strategic plan to say what kind of UK we want.

‘What is our place in the world? What are we trying to achieve in these negotiations?

‘Once you have got those strategic decisions sorted out, then you can set about thinking about when we should implement Article 50. I wouldn’t be in a rush.’

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