Several Conservatives are pushing the Prime Minister to trigger a “snap Brexit”, breaking ties with the EU at the same time.
The plans would see the UK move to annul the 1972 European Communities Act through an act of parliament, with May effectively declaring to Brussels that the UK has quit the union.
At the same time, she would also state that the UK would not impose trade tariffs unless the rest of the EU does first.
John Redwood, among the Tories to have lobbied May to follow this radical plan, told City A.M. that the move would also have the benefit of requiring the remaining 27 European members to agree on any tariffs to be imposed, with the UK able to trade freely with the Single Market in the meantime.
“It would then be quite difficult for them to reach an agreement on what set of barriers they wish to impose,” Redwood said.
“Government are thinking about it. They haven't told me what they are going to do because they are still deciding what they want to do,” he added.
“But these are the kind of points that I, and others, have been making.”
May has stated only that Article 50 will be triggered next year, but former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has called on May to launch the process “within months”, and Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh told City A.M. the UK should seek to open talks in January, having already put in place “the bones” of a deal.
Fysh adds the possibility of a sudden unilateral Brexit, launched through repeal of the 1972 legislation, should also be explored by government to allow May as a “useful option”.
“It would allow her to have the ability to walk away and repeal the Act at her discretion,” Fysh said.
“I would have it as a fall back option. We have to know what our bottom line is and be prepared to walk to it.”
And, similarly, Christchurch MP Chris Chope added that he hopes May will secure seperation from the EU by the end of 2018.
“All of us who were on the side of leaving the EU are very keen that we should get on with it and seize the opportunities that come post-EU without having to wait for two or even three years,” he said.
A spokesman for the newly established Department for Exiting the European Union declined to comment when asked whether the “snap Brexit” options is currently being evaluated.
However, a government source said: “Nobody should fool themselves though that this process will be brief or straightforward.”