May to call on ministers to back her Brexit deal as details emerge

Full withdrawal agreement expected to be published today after cabinet meeting for ministers to review the plan


Prime minister Theresa May holding a cabinet meeting at Sage Gateshead, Tyne and Wear in July. Ministers will meet today to discuss the Brexit plan Photo: PA

By Matt Foster

14 Nov 2018

Prime minister Theresa May will today call on cabinet ministers to back the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the European Union after officials reached an agreement on the exit deal last night.

Some ministers went to No. 10 yesterday to be briefed of the 500-page withdrawal agreement ahead of a cabinet meeting on the plan today. May will seek the backing of senior ministers for the exit deal, as well as the political declaration on the future relationship, before a vote in parliament, likely to take place next month. The plan already faces opposition from Conservative eurosceptics and the Democratic Unionist MP who back the government.


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According to reports ahead of the publication of the text later today, the EU has agreed that the backstop arrangement, which is intended to ensure there is no border on the island of Ireland even if the issue cannot be solved in a future trade deal, can apply to all of the UK and not just Northern Ireland.

A UK-wide backstop customs tie-up will be agreed, with a review mechanism included to figure out whether the fallback option will be needed.

However, the prime minister has reportedly agreed that the province will stay more closely aligned to EU customs and single market rules than the rest of the UK under the plan.

If the cabinet backs the agreement today, it could pave the way for a 25 November emergency Brussels summit to seal the deal with the 27 remaining member states.

Reacting to the agreement, former Foreign Office perm sec Sir Simon Fraser said the deal “damages British democracy & sovereignty”.

He said: “Unbearable to hear @BorisJohnson pontificating about how  the draft @theresa_may Brexit deal damages British democracy & sovereignty. Yes it does. But the man who both campaigned for Brexit and argued to stay in the single market has no credibility on this.”

Unbearable to hear @BorisJohnson pontificating about how the draft @theresa_may #Brexit deal damages British democracy & sovereignty. Yes it does. But the man who both campaigned for Brexit and argued to stay in the single market has no credibility on this.

— Simon Fraser (@SimonFraser00) November 13, 2018

Former Treasury perm sec Lord Macpherson said that if May secured agreement, “this is just the end of the beginning” while “if she doesn't, we are back to square one”.

He added: “Either way the heavy lifting lies ahead. Brexit uncertainty will be with us into the mid-2020s and beyond.”

If PM secures agreement to deal, this is just the end of the beginning. If she doesn't, we are back to square one. Either way the heavy lifting lies ahead. Brexit uncertainty will be with us into the mid-2020s and beyond. #getusedtoit

— Nick Macpherson (@nickmacpherson2) November 13, 2018
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