Pound soars after U.K., European Union agree on text for Brexit deal

14 November, 2018, 02:28 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Theresa May

They worry it will leave the United Kingdom worse off with little to show for the whole exercise.

Officials have said for weeks that agreement on divorce terms and a framework for future UK-EU relations was 95 per cent complete, and for several days negotiators have been meeting late into the night in Brussels in a bid to close the remaining gaps.

Downing Street then looked over it on Tuesday morning.

Cabinet ministers are, on Tuesday evening, having one-on-one meetings with the PM as she attempts to win their backing for the deal. They would, it is understood, be given legal advice prepared by the Attorney-General on how the deal might work in practice.

Former foreign secretary Mr Johnson suggested that if Mrs May's plans for a backstop customs deal with the European Union - aimed at preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland - went through, the United Kingdom could be reduced to the status of a colony. And that persuasion campaign appears to have already begun - with May's Cabinet ministers seen streaming into No. 10 Downing Street for consultation on the deal.

European Union diplomats did not have high hopes for a breakthrough this week that would allow for a summit of national leaders to rubber-stamp a Brexit deal this month.

The surprise news that an agreement had been reached and was ready to be presented to the cabinet came less than 24 hours after claims that European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier had attempted to use underhand tactics to "bounce" Theresa May into a deal.

- Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson accused the Prime Minister of stage-managing delays to the negotiations and a deal will mean "surrender" to Brussels.

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"With the UK Cabinet and Parliament yet to agree to the plans, we are clearly not out of the woods yet", said Capital Economics economist Ruth Gregory. It is utterly unacceptable to anybody who believes in democracy.

The prime minister is also likely to face trouble from the DUP, who are propping up Theresa May's minority government and will fiercely oppose any separate agreement for Northern Ireland.

Tory Europhiles led by arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg have also threatened to vote down the deal which they have dubbed BRINO - "Brexit in Name Only".

It was a "middle muddle fiddle fuddle", he said.

Labour, Britain's main opposition party, said it doubted that the deal will be good for the country.

In a joint letter, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Blackford, leader of the Scottish National Party in the British parliament, and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable called for the right to put down amendments before the vote - effectively giving parliament a vote on an alternative path.

He said the deal was a "failure to deliver on Brexit" and made it hard to "trust anything that comes out of Downing Street" again.

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson has been critical of the government's approach to negotiations, saying 'they uncritically accepted this nonsense of a backstop for Northern Ireland, a problem which doesn't exist and which can be dealt with by the existing trade facilitation measures which are in place'.

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