The whitepaper on the future relationship with the EU (“Chequers”) was rebuffed by the EU shortly after its publication (IIUC) [1, 2, 3].

Given this, why is the UK Government sticking to this plan? [4, 5] Has there been some fundamental shift or concession offered by the UK to make the plan acceptable to the EU? Was the rebuttal showmanship? Or is the UK Government playing a game of brinkmanship?


[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-talks-latest-eu-no-deal-chequers-plan-theresa-may-emmanuel-macron-edited-a8547076.html

[2] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7312978/the-way-eu-leaders-belittled-theresa-may-over-chequers-is-driving-even-remainers-to-accept-a-no-deal-brexit-claims-pro-eu-former-minister/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/21/theresa-may-loyalists-insist-her-brexit-plan-still-workable-despite-eu-rejection

[4] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45596470

[5] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6192323/Desperate-clings-Chequers-plan-Brexit-despite-Tory-mutiny.html

  • A good question, but I suspect it may be hard to answer, as it's all part of negotiations that take place behind closed doors. We may have to wait for historians before we can answer this question.
    – gerrit
    Oct 29, 2018 at 11:18
  • 1
    I believe It's something of a political necessity. The Chequers plan was the only one that managed to gain enough support among conservative MPs. Acknowledging its demise would equal to going back to square zero. Not with the EU, but domestically! It would definitely endanger the continuation of the current cabinet as it is. I'm guessing that the current cabinet will try to characterize any new deal on the table as a modification to Chequers, as opposed to a whole new deal. I'm not sure it will work. Currently there is strong opposition both inside and outside the Tory party.
    – armatita
    Oct 29, 2018 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


The government, or more specifically Mrs. May, thinks that the rejection is just a negotiating position from the EU and presumably expected it to be a starting point rather than the final destination.

You have to appreciate the impossible situation she is in. There is no possible deal that will be accepted by hard Brexiteers, moderates, the opposition, the DUP, business... So she has to come up with something she thinks she can sell to everyone, and Chequers is her best attempt at that.

So it's less a case of why is it still alive, and more a case of there being no alternative so they have to stick with it.

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