UK Politics: Is there really a coup brewing in Westminster?

Westminster
Rumours are coming out of Westminster that there could be a serious plot to overthrow Prime Minister Theresa May.
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Reports have circled this week that MPs are planning to overthrow Theresa May but is there are truth in it? The Tradefair team brings you the latest from UK politics...

"I think 'plotting' is rather glamourising it. There have been people long discontent about the leadership of the Conservative party."

- Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for Somerset West.

The Prime Minister hasn't had a nice and peaceful return to work after Parliament's summer recess. With British Intelligence laying the blame for the Novichok attack in Salisbury firmly with Russia and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker rejecting her Brexit plan, it's been a hectic week for Theresa May.

Now there are rumours that there is a coup brewing on the backbenches of Westminster. Positioning himself at the centre of these claims is Jacob Rees-Mogg. The controversial figure, who has famously voted against gay marriage, abortion even in instances of rape and the 1998 Human Rights Act, has politely rebuked suggestions that he's running for the top spot at Downing Street.

Holes in the Chequers deal

Instead he's focused on criticising the Brexit plan that May has taken to Brussels, in particular Rees-Mogg has his own solution to the Irish border problem. He has championed a Canada-style free-trade agreement, despite Brussels ruling this out, that would allow larger companies to self-regulate and just a small proportion of imports would be checked.

However, Rees-Mogg has said that, despite his misgivings over her Chequers plan, he fully supports May in her role.

Speaking to LBC's Eddie Mair he rejected reports that Conservative MPs held a meeting to plot the Prime Minister's downfall, he said: "I think 'plotting' is rather glamourising it. There have been people long discontent about the leadership of the Conservative party. This always happens with political organisations."

It comes after rumours emerged that some 50 MPs met for a private meeting and many of them were unhappy with May's Brexit plan.

Rees-Mogg added: "The reports I've heard is a exaggerated view of the meeting and that it [Theresa May's removal] was mentioned by a small number of people.

"There is not a plot that the ERG (European Research Group) has anything to do with. There are always members of political parties who are always disgruntled with the leadership."

Boris leading his own rebellion?

Joining the contentious Rees-Mogg is, unsurprisingly, recently departed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has also ruled himself out for a potential leadership contest but has been vocal about his criticism for May.

The former Cabinet minister released his own blueprint for Brexit earlier this year before eventually making a dramatic exit from his role, stating that he could not support the Chequers deal.

Both Rees-Mogg and Johnson stand convinced that their versions of the UK's departure from the EU - even in a no-deal scenario - would be beneficial for the economy.

Citing figures from pro-Brexit group Economists for Free Trade, Rees-Mogg said the UK could get an additional £1.1 trillion - about two-thirds of the entire national income per year - from a no-deal Brexit. This is based on the idea that the UK would no longer be tied to the EU and could buy items where they are cheapest.

How would the economy fare in Brexit?

Rees-Mogg also champions the prospect of trading with the rapidly growing emerging markets, which could have significant economical benefits for the freshly liberated UK. However, it remains to be seen whether or not Brexit Britain will be an attractive option to potential trade partners against the likes of the EU, US and China.

Writing for the Independent, Sean O'Grady says: "The most damning criticism of the Rees-Mogg project, though, is that there is nothing stopping us exporting to China right now - and the Germans, as ever, show us how it can be done."

He adds that even a free trade deal with China would be "resisted by the EU" who would remain a much bigger - and presumably more attraction - option for Beijing. This would also mean that the UK would be required to give China certain trade advantages and removing Britain's ability to be a "free trade, tariff-free beacon for the rest of the world".

What few Brexit blueprints consider is the impact such a sudden departure could have on the millions of people who hold jobs that are somehow linked to Europe. How will wages and the cost of living be influenced? What extra costs will there be for small businesses? And will these sacrifices be worth any potential long-term benefit?

Reassuringly, however, the global economy has proven to be resilient to political instability in recent years. From the shock referendum result in the first place to the lack of progress in a Brexit deal and even President Trump's controversial policy-making, there has been little to worry investors for too long.

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