Theresa May promises to 'deliver the Brexit people voted for'

Ben Stansall  Getty

Ben Stansall Getty

Both include ministers from the pro- and anti-Brexit factions, but two of the most hardline on each side - Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, responsible for the "crazy" barb, and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond - aren't included.

Michael Gove has said he would not back any delay to the United Kingdom leaving the customs union beyond the transition period to allow new border technology to be developed, as Ireland's foreign minister said any form of infrastructure or technology on the border would be unworkable.

They prefer the "maximum facilitation" model that relies on technology to minimise border checks, which critics say can not resolve the Irish border issue and would require lengthy development of sophisticated new technology.

"They do literally plunge a knife into the heart of government and particularly to the Prime Minister - because it is very much her fixed view, and that is what we stood on at the last election".

The UK would collect tariffs set by the EU customs union on goods coming into the UK on behalf of the EU.

Environment Minister Michael Gove, a prominent "Leave" supporter in the 2016 referendum campaign, said neither proposal was absolutely flawless.

"Any agreements must create as little friction as possible for trade", she said, adding: "We must not constrain our ability to negotiate trade agreements with other countries around the world by being bound into a customs union".

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"I trust the Prime Minister to do what she says she will do".

May said she wanted to restate her case "amid all the noisy debate and technical discussions".

Brexiteers, such as Mr Johnson, favour reintroducing tariffs on cross-channel trade, with technology used to avoid the need for border checks.

The wider Brexit subcommittee meets again on Tuesday and time is running out for the government to find an agreed position to take back to Brussels.

Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the government was in a "farcical situation".

Last year, London put forward two options to ease cross-border trade with the European Union but, with Brexit looming, has still yet to make a final decision on which to pursue. Leader Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong eurosceptic, has so far resisted calls to try to keep Britain in the bloc's single market, arguing that its rules would prevent him from fulfilling policy pledges including taking some businesses into state ownership.

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