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Hunt: Brexit customs union deal could cost key Tory votes

Plan could lose support of more Tory MPs than it gains from Labour, says foreign secretary

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A Brexit deal with Labour to enter a customs union could cost the Conservatives the support of as many of their own MPs as they would gain from Labour, Jeremy Hunt has said as pressure mounts on Theresa May’s leadership over the cross-party talks.

Conservative association chairs have forced an emergency summit on the prime minister’s future, with 800 constituency chairs expected to hold a vote on whether she should resign.

The organiser of the summit said grassroots anger had been prompted by both the talks with Jeremy Corbyn and the UK’s participation in the European parliamentary elections.

Cross-party talks with senior shadow ministers and officials are likely to continue this week after participants on Monday emerged optimistic about a change in tone and a feeling there were grounds to continue discussions, including on the issues of a customs union and single market alignment.

Speaking on a tour of five African countries, Hunt said there was a “great sense of urgency” to get a deal passed, but that he “very much hoped” the talks would not end in a deal proposing a customs union.

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