Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Intense week of talks ahead of Brexit showdown summit

Stephen Barclay Amber Rudd Brexit Work and Pensions Secretary Theresa May's leadership is running out of road as ministers quit over her Brexit plan
Deanna Wagner | 19 November, 2018, 11:27

She added that the next seven days "are going to be critical" for successful Brexit talks, and that she will be travelling to Brussels to meet with EU leaders before an emergency European Council summit on November 25.

The Prime Minister warned that a change of leadership would not make it easier to get a deal past parliament or the European Union, after furious Brexiteer backbenchers started moves to oust her.

Mrs May will join Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in addressing the business lobby group the CBI at its annual conference in London.

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Pressed on whether the 48-letter limit had been reached, Mrs May said: "As far as I know, no".

The leaders of her Northern Irish allies the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the opposition Labour party have both signalled that they would not back the deal in a vote.

The Brussels negotiations will finalize a parallel political declaration setting out a road-map for post-Brexit negotiations on future EU-UK ties.

Andrew Mitchell told the Times: "If these letters succeed in triggering a challenge then the party will turn in on itself and that is not a good place for the Conservatives let alone the country".

"As PM, my job is to bring back a deal that delivers on the vote of the British people by ending free movement, ensuring we're not sending vast annual sums to the European Union - but also protects jobs, security and the unity of the UK".

"He thinks what I am doing is important for the British people, though he doesn't put it like that.

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I have to find a way through, what best suits everybody's needs", May said, noting that she admits that her Brexit plan is "not everybody's ideal deal".

In a pointed warning to those who had called publicly for her unseating, she said that "a change of leadership at this point isn't going to make the negotiations any easier and it isn't going to change the parliamentary arithmetic".

The Prime Minister's top team has reportedly threatened to walk out en masse if changes are not made to her current Brexit plan.

Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge, she said the chair of the 1922 backbench committee will make it known if he had received the required 48 letters from Conservative MPs - which could lead to a leadership election.

It is hard to see how the 25 November EU summit could go ahead if Theresa May were to lose a confidence vote in the next few days.

Hardline Brexiteers within her own Conservative Party, meanwhile, are also unimpressed and have suggested the proposed deal could trap the United Kingdom into the customs union forever, effectively forcing it to indefinitely accept EU regulations moving forward.

A 2016 referendum to pull Britain out of the European Union won narrowly.

The DUP, among others, objects to the highly contentious "backstop" part of the text, an insurance policy to keep the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland open if no trade deal is reached.

Asselborn said May "deserves praise" for her position, saying the maxim "no deal is better than a bad deal" has been dropped in favor of "any deal is better than no deal".