Deal gets EU thumbs-up

PM has 12 days to con­vince MPs ­ or the whole agree­ment goes down the drain

Costa Levante News - - FRONT PAGE -

PM Theresa May now has the al­most im­pos­si­ble task of con­vinc­ing MPs of her Brexit deal af­ter EU lead­ers gave it the all­clear on Sun­day

By Ryan Wilkin­son, PA THERESA May faces an up­hill battle to get enough MPs to back her Brexit deal, even af­ter win­ning the sup­port of ev­ery EU leader.

Here are the some of the ma­jor fights still to play out, and how she might tackle them.

'The PM gath­ered her Cab­i­net on Mon­day be­fore mak­ing a state­ment to the Com­mons. It marked the start of what the Daily Mail dubbed a 'fran­tic fort­night' in which Mrs May will at­tempt to turn the tide of op­po­si­tion in West­min­ster to her hard­won deal. The Prime Min­is­ter con­firmed on Sun­day that MPs will vote on the deal ­ com­pris­ing the With­drawal Agree­ment and the Po­lit­i­cal Dec­la­ra­tion of fu­ture EU­UK re­la­tions ­ be­fore the Christ­mas re­cess.

On Mon­day the date was given: De­cem­ber 11.

Mrs May said it will be one of the most sig­nif­i­cant votes that Par­lia­ment has held ' for many years'. The deal must get the ma­jor­ity sup­port of MPs to be writ­ten into UK law. Led by fig­ures in­clud­ing Boris John­son and Ja­cob Rees­Mogg, a swathe of Brex­i­teer Tories have re­jected Mrs May's deal and called for it to be rene­go­ti­ated. This raises the prospect of some of Mrs May's own MPs vot­ing against the agree­ment when it goes be­fore the Com­mons. Writ­ing in the Daily Tele­graph on Mon­day, Mr John­son branded the PM's deal a 'dis­as­ter' and a 'hu­mil­i­a­tion' for the UK and called for it to be voted down. In the Sun­day Ex­press, Mr Rees­Mogg, who is calling for Mrs May to be re­placed, said the deal was a 'fail­ure'. The Euroscep­tics' re­jec­tion of the plans stems in large part from the deal's back­stop pro­vi­sion for the bor­der be­tween the Repub­lic of Ire­land and North­ern Ire­land. Hard­line Brex­i­teers say it risks the UK be­ing un­able to ever fully leave the EU. The DUP say the back­stop would see North­ern Ire­land adopt a dif­fer­ent reg­u­la­tory regime to Great Bri­tain if a wider UK/EU trade deal fails to ma­te­ri­alise. On Sun­day, DUP leader Ar­lene Fos­ter said there were no cir­cum­stances un­der which her party would vote for the cur­rent deal. Labour re­peat­edly warned that they would vote against any deal that does not pass six tests. Among the re­quire­ments are that it de­liv­ers the 'ex­act same' ben­e­fits, fair man­age­ment of mi­gra­tion and the pro­tec­tion of work­ers' rights and pro­tec­tions. Jeremy Cor­byn has said the deal does not meet the tests and 'is the re­sult of a mis­er­able fail­ure of ne­go­ti­a­tion that leaves us with the worst of all worlds'. Fac­ing wide­spread op­po­si­tion in West­min­ster, Mrs May is ap­peal­ing di­rectly to the pub­lic to get be­hind the deal, in the hope that pop­u­lar sup­port will in­flu­ence hos­tile MPs back at Par­lia­ment. She has al­ready taken part in two ra­dio phoneins and on Satur­day penned an open 'let­ter to the na­tion' in which she said it was time to 'get on with Brexit'. The next fort­night is likely to re­sem­ble a gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign, with the PM trav­el­ling the four na­tions of the United King­dom in a last­ditch drive to drum up sup­port. The Daily Tele­graph re­ported on Mon­day that Mrs May had thrown down the gaunt­let of a TV de­bate to Mr Cor­byn. Labour said he would 'rel­ish' the op­por­tu­nity. MPs' re­jec­tion of Mrs May's plan would open up sev­eral pos­si­bil­i­ties ­ Bri­tain crash­ing out of the EU with no deal on March 29, Mrs May hav­ing to re­turn to the EU to ask for fur­ther talks or a so­called Peo­ple's Vote that could see Brexit halted al­to­gether. On Mon­day, Mrs May is ex­pected to tell the Com­mons that re­ject­ing the deal would 'open the door to more di­vi­sion and more un­cer­tainty, with all the risks that will en­tail'. On Satur­day, Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond warned that re­ject­ing the deal would leave Bri­tain in 'un­charted ter­ri­tory', while he said a no­deal Brexit would un­leash 'eco­nomic chaos'. Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent JeanClaude Juncker led the warn­ings on Sun­day that there could be no re­turn to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble if the deal is re­jected. Nev­er­the­less, a no­deal Brexit would have dam­ag­ing con­se­quences for both the UK and EU coun­tries. If talks were re­opened it would likely mean ex­tend­ing the Ar­ti­cle 50 pe­riod well be­yond March 29. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, of­fi­cials in West­min­ster and Brus­sels were con­tin­u­ing to work on plans for al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments. Ne­go­ti­a­tions up to this point have re­lated to the ar­range­ments for how Bri­tain's di­vorce from the EU will take place. If Mrs May's di­vorce deal is passed by Par­lia­ment, next comes the long process of agree­ing on how the UK will trade with the bloc in the fu­ture. Ne­go­tia­tors have un­til the end of the tran­si­tion pe­riod, which could run un­til the end of 2022, to strike a deal. If they fail to do so that could mean the im­po­si­tion of the back­stop to en­sure no dis­rup­tion to the Ir­ish bor­der.

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