Published: Fri, November 23, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Final Brexit deal within our grasp: May

Final Brexit deal within our grasp: May

European Union leaders are due to meet in Brussels on Sunday to rubber-stamp the declaration and a separate divorce deal.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab believes parliament will vote down the Prime Minister's Brexit deal next month.

Existing travel links by plane, train and road will also be preserved beyond the Brexit transition.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will return to Brussels on Saturday to hammer out an outline of Britain's future ties with the European Union after failing to bridge the gaps with the head of the bloc's executive.

The remarks came after suggestions from Brussels that the summit set to approve the draft withdrawal agreement on Sunday could be called off unless progress is made on finalising a political declaration on future relations, with one senior official saying: "We're not there yet".

Speaking outside her Downing Street residence, May said Thursday that the deal "delivers on the vote of the referendum" and will give Britain control of its borders, money and laws.

Last year's European Union guidelines on the Brexit negotiations effectively gave Spain veto powers over future relations between the bloc and the British overseas territory.

"That deal is within our grasp and I am determined to deliver on it". Anti-Europe Conservatives have savaged the divorce deal, which they say keeps Britain too close to the EU.

Their opposition raises the risk of the deal failing and Britain ending its four-decade membership of the European Union with no other arrangement in place.

The prime minister told MPs the future relationship document is a good deal for Britain, ending free movement once and for all and introducing skills-based immigration.

Outstanding issues include a Spanish threat to block the so-called political declaration over Gibraltar and problems from other states on fishing rights and future trade ties.

"The negotiations are now at a critical moment, and all our efforts must be focused on working with our European partners to bring this process to a final conclusion", May said.

In the past week, the DUP has abstained on a series of votes on the Finance Bill that enacts the budget, breaching the confidence and supply agreement with the Tories and putting crucial Government business at risk of defeat.

The EU has also agreed to update the divorce deal to allow a possible extension of the transition period "for up to one or two years" if needed to agree on the new future relationship.

May came under attack from the main opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, who said nothing has changed, describing the political statement as "waffle".

She added: "The backstop as agreed must remain in place unless and until a better mechanism is agreed to protect our agreements, our economic interests and to avoid a hard border".

"This is the right deal for the United Kingdom", she said after updating the cabinet on the text of a declaration on post-Brexit relations agreed Thursday.

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