'Sad' EU chief Tusk calls 'farewell' summit to sign-off Brexit deal
Nov 16 2018
The outraged response by many MPs to the deal has heightened concerns that even when finalised, it will not pass parliament.
Suella Braverman, a junior minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, also quit saying in a letter "I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet".
Many have claimed the deal could result in the United Kingdom remaining subject to European trade rules despite having no say over them.
In a statement at Downing Street on Wednesday, May said her Cabinet had held a "long, detailed, and impassioned debate" but collectively agreed to go ahead with the deal.
MPs from all sides on Thursday argued that holding another referendum on Brexit should be considered if the deal is voted down in Parliament.
"But I believe with every fiber of my being that the course I have set out is the right one for our country and all our people", she said, adding that the alternative was a "path of deep and grave uncertainty".
These decisions were not taken lightly - but I believe it is a decision that is firmly in the national interest.
She acknowledged the agreement had entailed "difficult and sometimes uncomfortable decisions".
The deal also includes protections for European Union citizens living in Britain and a transition period lasting until at least 2020, during which time future trade agreements could be negotiated. And it is quite extraordinary that all her so-called red lines on the Customs Union, the Single Market, Freedom of movement, ex-Fisheries policies and much else have either been abandoned or compromised.
An independent panel will rule on when the measure can end.
They could also extend the transition if there is no long-term solution in place by July 2020 - but only once.
Assuming she does, she still faces a huge uphill battle to get her Brexit deal through a vote in the Commons scheduled for December.
Raab signed up to her Withdrawal Agreement allowing her to make her statement after Cabinet knowing he'd resign in time for the 9am News bulletins the next morning.
The deal also commits the two sides to a "backstop" solution that keeps the U.K.in a customs arrangement with the European Union as a guarantee the Irish border remains free of customs posts.
A special website, complete with a fundraising drive and a series of videos criticising May's deal, will help Labour party members petition their MP. She is due to meet May on Wednesday night. Dozens of May's own Conservative MPs are said to be contemplating voting against her Brexit plan.
Rees-Mogg confirmed he had sent a letter of no confidence, but it is not known how many others have been sent.
As chairman of a group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, his move could trigger a confidence vote in May, throwing the whole Brexit project into chaos.
In parliament, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, told Mrs May: "The government must now withdraw this half-baked deal".
Conservative Brexiteer Conor Burns told LBC that there was "a lot of febrile talk" among Conservative MPs.
"On both sides, we have exhausted our margin of manoeuvre", an official said, adding: "We think it is the best we can we can do with the constraints we have on both sides". "But sensing the levels of frustration and annoyance colleagues are feeling it would not surprise me if organically letters are going in".
David Davis (centre) listens to Boris Johnson speaking at a fringe meeting during the Conservative Party Conference.
A no-deal Brexit could also cause delays at borders, as new customs agreements with nearby countries in Europe would take time to negotiate and implement.
Under the agreement, the United Kingdom agrees to be bound by a UK-wide Brexit "backstop" which will effectively keep Britain in a customs union with the EU if the prime minister fails to secure an alternative arrangement before the end of the two-year Brexit transition period.