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According to the UK Times, hard-line Conservative Brexiteers are set to publish their own version of a hard exit scenario for the UK and making a challenge against Prime Minister Theresa May’s current hopes for salvaging a trade pact with the European Union.

Key quotes

“Work has begun on a policy paper, due to be published next month, outlining the advantages to Britain of leaving the European Union on World Trade Organisation terms. It is expected to have the backing of 60 to 80 Conservative MPs, increasing the pressure on the prime minister before the party conference in Birmingham.

Although the paper is still being developed it is understood to allow for a possible Canadian-style free trade agreement, but only if the EU backs down on demands over the Irish border. If the EU refuses, the paper will say, Britain could thrive by relying on WTO mechanisms.

Under a Canadian-style agreement, there would be no tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU, but Britain would not be part of the single market or customs union.

The paper is being organised by Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Conservative MPs. He is working with the former Brexit minister Steve Baker on a plan to create an “alternative view” to the government’s white paper.

The fear among Mrs May’s aides is that such a show of strength by the Tory right will discourage Brussels from engaging seriously with her proposals because it will calculate that she does not have a majority to push her plan through in Westminster.

Senior figures in the ERG believe that Brussels will reject the Chequers proposals anyway. “We have made it very clear that we do not accept the Chequers proposals, but there is an acknowledgement that we need to make the case for an alternative,” one said. “The tricky bit is coming to a common position that everyone can sign up to, but I’m confident that we should be able to achieve that.”

In The Times today, the Conservative former cabinet minister Lord Lilley, who is a member of the ERG, writes that while a Canadian-style trade deal would be “the best outcome”, no deal “would be a good second best”.

“The Chequers plan is moribund and the agreement offered by the EU in March is unacceptable because the ‘Irish backstop’ means splitting the UK,” he writes. ” ‘No deal’ is likely and would be a good second best, making a better deal possible later.”

Two Tory MPs have written to their colleagues before they return to parliament next month, asking them to join a new group in favour of a “pragmatic Brexit outcome”. The Brexit Delivery Group, led by Simon Hart and Andrew Percy, will meet weekly. In their letter, they made reference to the ERG, saying that any deal would be a compromise.”