Michael Gove has been privately pushing a plan to keep Britain in the single market

  • Michael Gove reportedly discussed the prospect of the UK staying “parked” within the single market with Conservative MPs.
  • The environment secretary discussed the possibility of the UK remaining within the European Economic Area at a dinner with moderate Tory MPs, according to an FT report.
  • One MP who attended the meeting said: “He was steering the conversation towards the EEA idea. There’s no doubt about that.”

LONDON – Leave-backing minister Michael Gove told other Conservative MPs that the UK could stay “parked” in the single market to avoid the disruption of a no-deal Brexit.

The environment secretary reportedly discussed with moderate MPs and peers at a recent dinner a scenario in which the UK remained within the European Economic Area, like Norway, according to a Financial Times report.

One MP who attended the meeting told the FT: “He was steering the conversation towards the EEA idea. There’s no doubt about that.”

One ministerial colleague of Gove’s has reportedly started referring to him as “St Michael of the EEA.”

The prospect of a Norway-style Brexit has become increasingly popular among moderate Tory MPs as a means of avoiding a no-deal scenario and of solving the Irish border problem.

But it would enrage Tory Eurosceptics because the UK would have to follow European rules anddefer=”defer”to the European Court of Justice, and move towards it could topple the Prime Minister.

A Gove ally said the environment secretary “wasn’t advocating the EEA” at the dinner.

“He’s totally behind the Prime Minister’s Chequers strategy,” they said. “He’s not considering any other option. He likes discussing things.”

The dinner also took place before the Cabinet agreed to May’s Chequers strategy, a blueprint for a soft-ish Brexit which triggered the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis.

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