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Conservative British MPs demand 'hard Brexit' clean European Union break

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Theresa May the Prime Minister

A letter signed by Eurosceptic lawmakers sets the scene for continued clashes both within the divided ruling party and with the European Union which has opposed the United Kingdom unilaterally signing global trade deals in the aftermath of Brexit.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the European Research Group, met May with some of his colleagues in her 10 Downing Street office on Tuesday to discuss their demands.

The letter to May calls for "full regulatory autonomy" post-Brexit and makes clear that she will have to fight them if she's thinking of allowing European Union regulators to take a role in British affairs, for example in areas such as data sharing.

In their letter, the Brexit-supporting MPs backed Prime Minister Theresa May's commitment to leaving the customs union and single market.

It offers suggestions on how an "internationally-engaged, free-trading, global Britain" might be achieved.

"The UK must be free to start its own trade negotiations immediately", the letter adds.

'The UK should negotiate as an equal partner.

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Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack, Stirling MP Stephen Kerr and Gordon MP Colin Clark were among 62 Conservatives to put their names to the letter.

"Any "implementation period" should be based on WTO principles".

They also said that Britain must not be stopped from negotiating and signing trade deals during any transition period.

With no majority, she knows that she needs to keep the dozens and dozens of Brexit-backing Tory MPs broadly with her for her own government's survival.

Best for Britain champion and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "On the eve of the crunch cabinet meeting, it seems the Prime Minister has one arm tied behind her back by the Tory militants who are now nakedly acting like a party within a party".

Sam Lowe, a trade expert at the Centre for European Reform, told the Guardian: "A standstill transition is in everyone's interest and absolutely essential if the government is serious about negotiating a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship between the EU and UK".

Critics have accused the Prime Minister of being "too weak" to confront the hard Brexiteers in her own party.

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