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Saturday, 7 July 2018

AFTER CABINET BREXIT DEAL, MAY MUST PERSUADE MPS AND BRUSSELS


British Prime Minister Theresa has persuaded her eurosceptic ministers to back a plan for closer ties with the EU after Brexit, but some MPs expressed alarm — and she must still sell it to Brussels.
After marathon talks at her country retreat on Friday, May secured the agreement of her divided cabinet for a new “free trade area” where Britain would accept EU rules for goods in order to provide “frictionless” trade.
There had been talk of resignations over the plan by ministers who want a clean break with the bloc, such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
But they failed to materialise and May now has something to offer Brussels, which has warned time is running out to secure a deal before Brexit in March.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc would assess the plans when they are fleshed out in a policy paper next week, to “see if they are workable and realistic.”
Uniting her cabinet was a big win for May, after two years of very public splits.
In a letter to members of her Conservative party, she said she had allowed ministers to speak out before but “collective responsibility is now fully restored”.
Several eurosceptic ministers on Saturday publicly backed the premier, including leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Pro-European MPs who had previously rebelled against May also offered their support for the plan, with Anna Soubry saying it “delivers a business friendly Brexit”.
Perhaps surprisingly, Douglas Carswell, who co-founded the official Brexit campaign in the 2016 EU referendum, gave his backing.
“Read the detail and ask if this allows us to take back control. It does. Incrementally,” he tweeted.
“A deal that guarantees us access to the (EU’s single market) until such time as we chose regulatory divergence?… Sounds ok to me.”

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