ARCH Eurosceptic Steve Baker will pave the way for his own Tory leadership bid by demanding candidates back a Hard Brexit masterplan.
And he is expected to say that if Boris Johnson and other leading Eurosceptic contenders don’t back his proposals – he will stand himself.
Steve Baker could join the Tory leadership contest if leading contenders do not back his No Deal proposals[/caption]
Sources claimed the self-styled Brexit ‘Spartan’ has been preparing a bid for weeks.
One of the Tory contenders told The Sun: “Steve is setting the bar too high purposely, so he can run himself.
“His plan is a one way ticket to No Deal.
“He’ll have 15 members of the (Tory Eurosceptic group) ERG that (Tory MP) Mark Francois will whip up for him and then he’ll get knocked out.”
Challenged, the former Brexit Minister refused to comment on his own ambitions.
But he said: “This is a major national crisis.
“Conservative MPs need to understand that the Conservative Party will be obliterated by the Brexit Party if they don’t satisfy our voters who have defected. This is the time to put a stake in the ground.”
Allies of Mr Baker insisted that he still hadn’t decided if he would stand.
‘CLEAN, MANAGED BREXIT’
One said: “He’s going to leave himself a bit of wriggle room.”
But his new plan – backed by 16 Eurosceptic Tories – comes just days before nominations for the contest close.
And it is thought the document – demanding a “clean, managed Brexit” – has already been circulated around some leadership contenders’ camps.
Under the plan, Mr Baker says the UK should be prepared to leave without a formal deal in place, and trade on WTO terms before a free trade agreement can be struck.
He adds that ‘alternative arrangements’ can be used to ensure a seamless border on Ireland – and “practical contingency arrangements” enforced to cover issues such as aviation.
And he insists Britain withholds the £39 billion divorce bill – instead applying a “substantial part” on tax cuts and to help businesses adapt to a No Deal.
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Mr Baker writes: “The new Prime Minister will have around three months further to prepare the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
“It is vital they enter office with a clear and deliverable plan.
“This document presents the necessary plan. It is recommended the new Prime Minister should adopt the following proposals as the basis for Government policy.”
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