No “self-respecting democracy” would accept the terms for Britain’s future relationship with the EU set out in Theresa May’s Chequers plan, the former Brexit Secretary David Davis has said.
In a speech to German business bosses in Munich, Mr Davis branded the Chequers plan “a non-starter” which was “in no-one’s interests” and would be worse than a no-deal.
He rejected Mrs May’s plans for a free trade area for goods under a common rulebook, and dismissed her “Facilitated Customs Arrangement” as “clunky and impractical”.
Mr Davis warned that the EU’s demands for further concessions would push Britain towards a deal which is “likely to look an awful lot like membership”.
The former Brexit Secretary urged the UK to ditch the Chequers model to pursue a Canada-style free trade agreement.
Mr Davis warned that Mrs May's proposal of a "common rulebook" for goods would put the UK in the position of having to obey regulations drawn up in Brussels.
He said: "For a nation that is seeking its independence and endeavouring to chart its own path in the world - how can this possibly be acceptable?
"For the fifth largest economy in the world, leading the way on innovation, we cannot be governed by a body that we have no control over. It should not even be contemplated.
"We should be discussing these regulations as friends and collaborators, by all means. But we cannot simply accept them as subordinate rule takers. No self-respecting democracy could."
‘The British people will not accept it’
The Prime Minister's proposal for Britain to collect customs levies on behalf of the EU was "just as clunky and impractical as it sounds", he said.
He added: "There is widespread opposition to Chequers as it stands, let alone further concessions. It goes beyond the Prime Minister's red lines, and it is seen as unworkable by the EU.
"But most importantly, the British people will not accept it.
"But if a deal like this is accepted by both sides, resentment among the British people would swiftly return, distrust in politicians would deepen and it would feed the electoral fortunes of European populist parties. Chequers, then, is in no-one's interests.
"The EU is often correctly described as having a democratic deficit. But Chequers is devoid of democracy altogether.
"A bad deal really is worse than no deal."