Brexit deal: Cabinet to discuss draft agreement

Hugh Fox
November 14, 2018

While officials choreograph the first withdrawal of a sovereign state from the European Union, it remains unclear whether May can get any deal approved by the British parliament.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would look at the details "when they are available".

"Cabinet will meet at 2:00pm tomorrow to consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels, and to decide on next steps", a spokesman at Ms May's Downing Street office said.

Asked if the United Kingdom could be trapped in a backstop against its will, Lidington said: "The prime minister has said again and again, if the backstop were ever to be used - we don't want it to be used -.it's clearly got to be something that would be temporary and not indefinite".

May's cabinet is splintered on Brexit, with some senior ministers opposed to provisions that could keep the United Kingdom closely tied to the European Union for years to come.

'We will accept European Union laws but be unable to shape them.

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It marks a turnaround from Monday, when Downing Street sources Business Insider spoke to were downbeat, suggesting that a deal was unlikely to be done in time for the EU's deadline to organise a November Brexit summit.

The news was cheered by investors hoping May can convince her ministers to back the draft agreement if there is to be enough time for a proposed Brexit summit of European Union leaders in late November to approve it.

The EU and the United Kingdom need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world's biggest trading bloc and the United Kingdom, home to the biggest worldwide financial center.

Meanwhile, a pro-European group of lawmakers from all parties led a rally outside parliament calling for a new Brexit referendum that includes a choice to stay in the EU. The party is propping up May's Conservative Party, which does not have a parliamentary majority, and can provide crucial votes on issues.

Cable said May will fail to get the deal approved by parliament.

Former transport minister Jo Johnson said he made a decision to quit Mrs May's Government because he was concerned at reports she was planning a publicity campaign which he said amounted to a "calculated deceit".

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May faces substantial opposition to her strategy in the House of Commons, which must approve the agreement before Brexit on March 29.

May formally began Britain's divorce in March 2017, ushering in tortuous negotiations on everything from space exploration and fishing territories to selling complex financial products and the future of the land border on the island of Ireland.

Ministers will be focusing on when the so-called Irish border backstop can be ended, an issue that has riven the cabinet with divisions.

The draft agreement is thought to involve a customs union remaining between the United Kingdom and the EU, with some special arrangements in Northern Ireland to prevent a border with the Republic being necessary.

It remained unclear what had been agreed on the Irish border.

Some 500 pages of text can then be poured over.

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The broadcaster said the deal involved one overall backstop in the form of a UK-wide customs arrangement, but with deeper provisions for Northern Ireland on customs and regulations.

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