Six key questions about Theresa May's Brexit deal

Lester Mason
November 14, 2018

Theresa May's spokesman this morning strongly denied this, saying there still remained a "small number of outstanding issues" between the two sides in Brussels.

"I think it is dawning on them that actually, something that I don't think they actually ever really thought was a possibility. which is the possibility that we might leave without a deal", he said.

It is not thought that any deal will be on the table at the Cabinet meeting in 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, which will instead hear an update on negotiations and discuss preparations for a possible no-deal withdrawal from the EU.

A review mechanism is understood to be part of the text, but it is unclear whether that would meet the demands of Tory Brexiteers - including some in the Cabinet - who want the United Kingdom to be able to unilaterally walk away from the deal to prevent it becoming a permanent settlement.

A potential compromise solution involves maintaining a UK-wide - rather than Northern Ireland only - customs union until a free trade deal which eliminates the need for customs checks is agreed.

However, the backstop is set not to come with a fixed end date, as demanded by pro-Brexit MPs, but with a "review clause" for deciding when it can come to an end.

"While there are still numerous hurdles ahead, sign-off on Wednesday could be a hugely important step toward getting a deal over the line before Christmas and avoiding a disastrous no deal scenario", said Craig Erlam, market analyst at OANDA.

European Union officials have consistently said that striking a deal is not like picking from an "a la carte menu" for May and her team and the United Kingdom either needs to accept all the unified conditions that come with European Union, such as allowing the freedom of movement of people if they want favourable trading conditions at a fee (like Norway).

It comes after Ireland's RTE reported agreement has been reached on the issue of the Irish border.


Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the deal frustrated the will of the people and makes a nonsense of Brexit and the referendum.

However, the prime minister has pressed on despite the high-profile resignations of former ministers like Johnson and David Davis and would be likely to do so again.

In a sign that Brexit talks could go down to the wire, European Union sources told Reuters they want clarity from London by the end of Wednesday at the latest if there is to be a summit this month to approve a Brexit deal.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds noted that he would not make a judgment on the tentative deal until he sees formal details, but as he told local media Tuesday, "if the reports are as we are hearing, then we couldn't possibly vote for that". A Tory MP who attended told Business Insider the group was "absolutely shell-shocked" because none of May's "promises" to it had been kept. The Tory government did not oppose the Labour motion, fearing a rebellion from their own MPs on the issue.

Will the DUP support the deal?

But the hardline Leavers in May's party have already pounced on her before it has even been published, urging Cabinet members to reject it.

Asked if the Government's days were numbered he said: "If this is the case nearly certainly, yes".

But expectations of an imminent breakthrough on a withdrawal deal were tempered, with a source adding: "It's not going to happen today". A deal will be reached and it will mean surrender by the UK.

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