Ar­lene: We’re sorry for RHI

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Front Page - POL­I­TICS: SEE PAGES 8,9&10

DES­PER­ATE Theresa May to­day goes over the heads of MPs to ap­peal di­rectly to the na­tion to back her Brexit deal.

We must come to­gether as one and get on with Brexit, says PM

Ti­tanic springs to mind. Now is time to point out ice­berg – Boris

As things stand, the PM knows she faces de­feat when the deal comes be­fore the Com­mons next month as en­e­mies on all sides gang up on her.

So she’s writ­ten an open let­ter to the British peo­ple im­plor­ing vot­ers to put pres­sure on wa­ver­ing MPs to back her.

She hopes it might just give her the num­bers she needs to get her Brexit through and re­unite a war­ring na­tion.

She wrote: “We will then be­gin a new chap­ter in our na­tional life. I want that to be a mo­ment of re­newal and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion for our whole coun­try.

“It must put aside the la­bels of ‘Leave’ and ‘Re­main’ for good and we come to­gether again as one peo­ple. To do that we need to get on with Brexit now by getting be­hind this deal.”

Mrs May is to launch a new web­site to­day to sell her deal. She will tour the coun­try, and blitz so­cial me­dia in what White­hall dubbed “the air war”.

The PM is set to get backing to­day from all 27 EU states at the spe­cial sum­mit in Brus­sels. EU Coun­cil pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk urged lead­ers to sup­port the plan, telling them: “No-one has rea­sons to be happy. But we were all look­ing for a good and fair agree­ment.

PRES­SURE

“And I be­lieve we have fi­nally found the best pos­si­ble com­pro­mise.”

He even quoted Fred­die Mer­cury on the 27th an­niver­sary of the singer’s death, tweet­ing: “Friends will be friends – right till the end”, say­ing it should be the sum­mit motto.

Span­ish PM Pe­dro Sanchez tried to throw a last minute span­ner in the works over Gi­bral­tar’s fu­ture. But pres­sure from other EU lead­ers, in­clud­ing Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker, per­suaded him to not carry out a sum­mit boy­cott.

In a clas­sic face-sav­ing fudge, Mr Sanchez said the UK had pro­vided “suf­fi­cient guar­an­tees to reach a so­lu­tion to a con­flict that has lasted more than 300 years”. In fact, all the UK has promised is that a fu­ture EU-UK trade treaty would not au­to­mat­i­cally ap­ply to Gi­bral­tar. That will be rub­ber-stamped by other lead­ers.

Mrs May said Gi­bral­tar was “cov­ered by the whole with­drawal agree­ment” and its sovereignty “will not change”. Bri­tain is adamant its 30,000 cit­i­zens will stay British as long as they want.

EU lead­ers were fu­ri­ous with Sanchez for try­ing to mess up to­day’s sum­mit. They ac­cused him of try­ing to win votes for re­gional elec­tions in An­dalu­sia, next to Gi­bral­tar.

The sum­mit will ap­prove two doc­u­ments – a with­drawal agree­ment set in stone and a po­lit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tion on the UK’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU.

Jeremy Cor­byn branded this “26 pages of waf­fle” con­tain­ing only vague as­pi­ra­tions and ac­cused Mrs May of a “blind­fold Brexit”.

But in a bid to pla­cate MPs, No10 sources said al­though the dec­la­ra­tion

word­ing can­not be changed “clar­i­fi­ca­tions” may be added.

Mean­while, Boris John­son pitched up in Belfast at the DUP’s an­nual con­fer­ence to rub­bish Mrs May’s plans.

He told leader Ar­lene Foster and del­e­gates the Ir­ish bor­der back­stop should be “junked” and said Mrs May’s Brexit deal will turn North­ern Ire­land into an EU “eco­nomic semi-colony”.

The 10 DUP MPs say they will not back Mrs May at next month’s vote un­less she scraps pro­pos­als that could align North­ern Ire­land with

EU rules af­ter Brexit. The

DUP says that would ef­fec­tively carve North­ern Ire­land off from the UK.

But Mr John­son did urge union­ists to hon­our their West­min­ster deal prop­ping up the Tories. He warned the al­ter­na­tive would be a Labour govern­ment led by Mr Cor­byn “whose avowed pol­icy is to break up this coun­try.”

Mr John­son said un­der cur­rent plans North­ern Ire­land would have to ac­cept EU rules from “lawn­mower noise, the la­belling of sar­dines, to the use of recre­ational wa­ter­craft.”

He added: “Nowhere has a more il­lus­tri­ous his­tory than North­ern Ire­land when it comes to the cre­ation of recre­ational wa­ter­craft. The Ti­tanic springs to mind, and now is the time to point out the ice­berg ahead.”

Mrs May’s ap­peal to the na­tion will be her most per­sonal yet. No10 spin doc­tors aim to bury her May­bot im­age from last year’s elec­tion. In the let­ter, she says: “From my first day in the job, I knew I had a clear mis­sion be­fore me – a duty to hon­our the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum.

“Through­out the long and com­plex ne­go­ti­a­tions I have never lost sight of that duty.”

SUP­PORT For Mrs May from Pres­i­dent Juncker

EAR WE GOBoris with DUP’s Foster

RED LET­TER DAY PM has writ­ten to the peo­ple beg­ging for sup­port

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