‘Untie ourselves from EU shackles’: Leading Tories call on Theresa May to pull out of single market

© Neil Hall
Sixty hardline Brexiteers have demanded that Theresa May take a stronger stance on withdrawing from the EU, urging her to pull out of the single market and customs union.

The Tory MPs, which include Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, John Whittingdale and Theresa Villiers, made the demands after going public in a statement to the Sunday Telegraph.

The group of leading Eurosceptics said a clean break with the EU was the best way to “untie ourselves from EU shackles and freely embrace the rest of the world.”

The move comes as numerous other Tory MPs urged the prime minister to scrap the government’s appeal against the High Court ruling on seeking parliamentary approval for triggering Article 50.

READ MORE: Bye-bye Brexit? Britain’s bid to rid itself of EU membership may fall flat

Sir Oliver Letwin, who was the former head of the Brexit Unit, said instead of pursuing the legal route, the government should bring a “fast and tightly timetabled” bill to MPs and the Lords, according to the Independent.

In reference to the latest powers granted to Scotland and Wales to intervene in triggering Article 50, Letwin warned that pushing ahead with the appeal would “accord the devolved administrations some rights or even some veto powers.”

“I can’t see the point in the government continuing with the case and also agree that if they enact primary legislation, they will get it through parliament,” Conservative MP Dominic Grieve told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program.

READ MORE: Putin on Brexit: No one wants to support weak economies

Another pro-Brexit Tory MP, Owen Paterson, who is a former environment secretary, also urged the government to drop the appeal.

“I’m not a lawyer and I’m not an expert on this but… I wouldn’t have a bet on the government winning this one,” Patterson said, the Telegraph reported.

According to the newspaper, there is a split in May’s Cabinet over whether the UK should pull out of the EU single market, which allows for trade between borders without customs checks.

Eurosceptics have argued that remaining in the single market would make Britain bound to the European Court of Justice and staying in the customs union could potentially stop the UK signing free trade deals.

READ MORE: UKIP misspent £400,000 of EU cash on Brexit & election campaigns, leaked audit shows

Writing for the Telegraph, the Tory MP for Fareham, Suella Fernandes, backed the call to pull out of the customs union.

“When the British people voted to leave the European Union on 23 June, most of my Parliamentary colleagues and I took it as an instruction to untie ourselves from EU shackles and freely embrace the rest of the world,” Fernandes wrote. “We now wish to ensure that the will of the people is fulfilled.”

“As we made clear in the referendum campaign, remaining in the EU’s internal market, like Norway, or in a customs union like Turkey is not compatible with either of these commitments and doing so would frustrate the will of the electorate,” she added.