Sunday Shows Round-Up: Tory 'Jitters' Over Theresa May But No 'Magic King Over The Water'

Dominic Raab, Keir Starmer, Suella Braverman and Robert Halfon hit the TV studios.

The prime minister is entering the “the killing zone”, should “bring her own noose” as “assassination is in the air” - according to various reports this Sunday.

Brexit talks both in Brussels and within the Conservative Party are, let’s say, ongoing.

Dominic Raab used his appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show to plead with Tory MPs who had “jitters” about the leadership to “hold our nerve”.

In his interview, the Brexit secretary conceded that the backstop proposal designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland will likely not have an explicit time limit.

“It could be time limited, there could be another mechanism,” he said. “There needs to be something which allows us to control how long we are there for to avoid any sense that we are left indefinitely in a sort of customs union limbo. That wouldn’t be acceptable.”

He suggested the transition period, currently set to run from March 2019 until December 2020, could be extended by “three months” or so.

Brexit minister Suella Braverman also said she would accept a backstop without an end date written in.

“Well we need a date or a very clear mechanism or clause in this agreement which enables us to get out of it,” she told Sky News’ Sophie Ridge on Sunday.

The comments from the two Brexit ministers are unlikely to win the government any more friends on the Tory backbenches - with many MPs warning a time limit is necessary and an extension to the transition is unacceptable.

In his Marr interview, Raab also said any deal would have to be agreed “towards the end of November” to give both sides time to implement the agreement.

And he repeated the government’s line that the final Commons vote would be a decision between the deal the government brings back or no deal at all.

For Labour, Keir Starmer told Marr that European leaders were open to his idea of the UK being part of a customs union with the EU which involves both parties also striking joint free trade deals.

Asked if he had spoken to a single senior European figure who has suggested this idea is workable, he replied: “Yes. I’ve discussed it across the EU. I would never have surfaced that idea if I’d not had those discussions, not only in Brussels but in other EU countries.

He said it would not be in the national interest for Labour to back a bad deal.

“I think we need to ask ourselves the question whether if there’s a deal before Christmas that goes through that that’s going to survive for very long – this idea they’ll be a sort of a settlement, the issue will be over,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody thinks this 30-year civil war in the Tory party on Europe is going to end before Christmas.”

Despite the ominous warnings that May is about to be toppled, no Tory MPs appeared on TV or radio this morning to explicitly call for her to go. Possibly because there is no agreement on who to replace her.

Former minister Robert Halfon said “it may be that she decides to go after she’s got Brexit through”.

But added: ”Who is this magic king or queen over the water who is suddenly going to solve all the Conservative party problems?

“It doesn’t matter if it is Theresa May or Mother Theresa, unless we get our values right.”

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