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Theresa May's draft EU deal faces uphill struggle after Brexit minister resigns

15 November 2018 by
Theresa May's draft EU deal faces uphill struggle after Brexit minister resigns

Theresa May has gained cabinet approval for her draft Brexit deal, but the Prime Minister faces an uphill struggle to get the agreement passed after the resignation of Brexit minister Dominic Raab.

The cabinet meeting, which took some five hours to complete last night ended in agreement - but between nine and 11 ministers are said to have opposed the deal.

However this morning the future of the Prime Minister's draft agreement seemed to be in doubt after Dominic Raab, the Minister for Exiting the European Union, resigned. Raab, who was instrumental in forging the deal, said he could not "in good conscience" support the agreement. His resignation followed that of Northern Ireland Minister Shailesh Vara and was followed by Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey. Several more cabinet members are under pressure from Eurosceptic Tory MPs to quit, including Penny Mordaunt.

May is expected to face a grilling when she addresses the House of Commons this morning, with groups from all parties including up to 65 members of her own calling for the deal to be scrapped.

The 585-page draft agreement sets out the terms of the transition period, given an initial end date of 31 December 2020.

The transition period will be used to agree a future trading relationship, but the draft deal states that if no deal that prevents a hard Northern Ireland border is struck within this period, it will be extended. During the transition period, all existing rights to work and trade will continue, giving businesses time to prepare and curtailing the risks of any food shortages.

The Prime Minister has said the choice facing MPs will be her deal, no deal or no Brexit.

Speaking after yesterday's cabinet meeting, she said: "This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our union; or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all."

The DUP and Brexiteers have been speaking out against May's plan this morning, saying it could leave the UK tied to EU rules for an indefinite period of time.

The deal will be presented to EU leaders on 25 November when it will need to gain the backing of all 27 heads of state; if agreement is gained, it will go before Parliament.

The pound saw a boost after the announcement that cabinet approval had been gained, before dipping again as Vara and Raab's resignations were announced.

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