UK cabinet agrees to back Brexit deal

The British cabinet has agreed to back a Brexit deal negotiated between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU, following what Mrs May has called “long, detailed and impassioned debate”.

The draft deal, which is 585 pages long, covers the three main areas of the negotiations – citizens’ rights, the ‘divorce’ settlement and the Northern Ireland border – as well as giving a brief outline of what the parties hope for in the future relationship.

Since the cabinet is now in agreement, after five hours of discussions behind closed doors, it is expected there will be another EU leaders’ summit before the end of November to confirm this deal, after which the British and European Parliaments will also vote on it.

Leaving with the deal would secure many of the rights enjoyed by British expatriates in countries including France, whereas leaving with no deal would involve much uncertainty and would require goodwill and new laws by France and the UK to patch up the problems this would cause.

However, unless there have been last-minute additions, campaigners have pointed out that it does not protect all of the rights, such as local election voting or the right to freely live and work across the other EU countries apart from the one in which people live.

As a result many have been backing a new referendum, including the option to remain.

Mrs May has said in a statement that she firmly believes the draft she has obtained was the best that could be negotiated and the it “enables us to take back control and build a brighter future for our country”.

It is understood that the solution it contains on the problem of the Northern Ireland border, which was the main sticking point, is that the whole of the UK should remain in a customs union with the EU, and Northern Ireland in a ‘deeper’ arrangement including more regulatory alignment, pending a future UK/EU free trade agreement which it is thought could remove the need for these. The UK would also, while these so-called ‘back-stop’ arrangements are in place, have to abide by certain EU rules on matters like the environment and working rights.

Mrs May called today’s agreement “a decisive step, which enables us to move on and finalise the deal in the days ahead”.

The said the choice before us is now her deal, no deal, or no Brexit at all.

She will make a statement tomorrow in parliament.

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