May ap­peals di­rect to the vot­ers in bid to sway MPs

Sunday Express - - HISTORIC MOMENT IN BATTLE FOR BREXIT - By David Mad­dox

THERESA MAY has made an im­pas­sioned ap­peal in an open let­ter to the na­tion ask­ing the pub­lic to back her deal with the EU.

With a his­toric Brus­sels sum­mit un­der way to­day where Mrs May and the lead­ers of the 27 mem­bers of the EU are due to sign the With­drawal Agree­ment, the Prime Min­is­ter promised “a brighter fu­ture” awaits the coun­try if MPs ac­cept her pro­posal.

She hopes voter pres­sure will per­suade wa­ver­ers in Par­lia­ment to vote her way. But in a warn­ing to the Gov­ern­ment in to­day’s Sun­day Ex­press, Ja­cob Rees-Mogg has said that he and many other Brex­i­teers will not sup­port the deal in the Com­mons vote, ex­pected on Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 12.

In a sign that the EU had re­luc­tantly agreed to the deal, Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk sent out for­mal in­vi­ta­tion let­ters to EU lead­ers for the sum­mit, say­ing the Brexit deal reached by ne­go­tia­tors from the UK and Brus­sels “found the best pos­si­ble com­pro­mise”. He said: “I will rec­om­mend that we ap­prove on Sun­day the out­come of the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“No-one has rea­sons to be happy. But at least at this crit­i­cal time, the EU27 has passed the test of unity and sol­i­dar­ity.”

Mean­while, in Belfast Boris John­son told the Demo­cratic Union­ist Party (DUP) that the North­ern Ire­land back­stop which could keep Bri­tain un­der Brus­sels rule for years to come must be ditched. He com­pared the deal to the Ti­tanic, adding: “Now is the time to point to the ice­berg ahead.”

Mrs May’s at­tempt to win over the pub­lic came amid grow­ing ev­i­dence yes­ter­day she will strug­gle to win sup­port in Par­lia­ment for the deal with both Tory Leavers and Re­main­ers vow­ing to op­pose it. Writ­ing for the Sun­day Ex­press web­site MP Ben Bradley, who be­came the first Tory to win Mans­field last year, warned that the deal could lose the party Leave sup­port­ing seats like his.

Re­mainer Tory MP Phillip Lee, who hopes de­feat in the Com­mons will lead to a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, yes­ter­day tweeted: “The gov­ern­ment’s claim that a vote against the With­drawal Agree­ment will let in Cor­byn and his team couldn’t

be more wrong. What will let them in is push­ing through a ‘deal’ un­wanted by Re­main­ers and re­viled by Leavers without giv­ing the peo­ple a fi­nal say.”

DUP leader Ar­lene Foster con­firmed that her party op­poses the deal and will re­view its con­fi­dence and sup­ply ar­range­ment with the Con­ser­va­tives.

ERG sources have said at least 40 Brex­i­teer Tories are set to rebel while it is thought up to 12 Re­mainer Tories could also vote against the deal. Down­ing Street sources have said they be­lieve “we will win the vote” – but the Prime Min­is­ter may have to rely on the back­ing of up to 35 Labour MPs.

Her let­ter comes af­ter a fren­zied week of talks as the Gov­ern­ment ma­chine has tried to push the deal through. Be­sides the let­ter, Mrs May has pub­lished her list of 40 rea­sons to back the Brexit deal.

On Fri­day po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ists were brought in for a hard sell of the deal from Mrs May’s chief of staff Gavin Bar­well, with sim­i­lar meet­ings through­out the week for MPs and busi­ness fig­ures. In her let­ter, Mrs May made it clear that she be­lieves her deal de­liv­ers on the EU

ref­er­en­dum re­sult in 2016. She wrote: “It will hon­our the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum. We will take back con­trol of our bor­ders, by putting an end to the free move­ment of peo­ple once and for all. In­stead of an im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem based on where a per­son comes from, we will build one based on the skills and tal­ents a per­son

‘A brighter fu­ture awaits the coun­try’ ‘This de­nies a key ben­e­fit of leav­ing’

has to of­fer. “We will take back con­trol of our money, by putting an end to vast an­nual pay­ments to the EU. In­stead, we will be able to spend Bri­tish tax­pay­ers’ money on our own pri­or­i­ties, like the ex­tra £394mil­lion per week that we are in­vest­ing in the NHS.

“And we will take back con­trol of our laws, by end­ing the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice in the UK.” Ad­dress­ing con­cerns over the North­ern Ire­land back­stop, she added: “Cru­cially, [the deal] will pro­tect the in­tegrity of our

United King­dom and en­sure that there will be no hard bor­der be­tween North­ern Ire­land and Ire­land.”

But in the Sun­day Ex­press to­day, Ja­cob Rees-Mogg de­scribed the deal as “a fail­ure”. He warned: “Not only will the UK’s abil­ity to set its own laws be com­pro­mised but so will tax­a­tion. The treaty al­lows the EU to set the UK’s tar­iffs as part of the back­stop pro­vi­sions. This de­nies the UK a key ben­e­fit of leav­ing, the pos­si­bil­ity to have lower prices for food, cloth­ing and footwear. Yet the con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ple of con­sent for tax­a­tion from Par­lia­ment is more im­por­tant than the loss of a fu­ture op­por­tu­nity.”

Mr John­son said the UK was on the verge of “mak­ing a his­toric mis­take”.

Pic­ture: SEAN GALLUP/Getty

STYLE: Theresa May wears bracelet by Mex­i­can com­mu­nist Frida Kahlo as she meets Jean-Claude Juncker yes­ter­day

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