Whatever the noises off, the vast majority of Tory MPs will back the prime minister’s deal, including prominent remainers such as the former home secretary Amber Rudd. Simon Hart, known for his acerbic takedowns of Brexit rebels on Twitter, runs the “Brexit delivery group” of moderate MPs who want to see a deal done.
REUTERS|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|British Prime Minister Theresa May won the backing of her senior ministers for a draft European Union divorce deal on Wednesday, freeing her to tackle the much more perilous struggle of getting parliament to approve the agreement.
More than two years after the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the EU, May told reporters outside her Downing Street residence that she had won over her divided cabinet, which includes some senior Brexiteers.
“The collective decision of cabinet was that the government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration,” she said, after a five-hour meeting.
Speaking over protesters shouting anti-Brexit slogans from the end of Downing Street, she said the deal, 585 pages long, was the best that could be negotiated.
“When you strip away the detail, the choice before us was clear: 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,” she said.
No ministers threatened to resign over the deal, which May hopes will satisfy both Brexit voters and EU supporters by ensuring close ties with the bloc after Britain leaves on March 29.
But the weakest British leader in a generation now faces the ordeal of trying to push her deal through parliament, where opponents lined up to castigate the agreement, even before reading it.
Into the unknown
Brexit will pitch the world’s fifth largest economy into the unknown. Many fear it will divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional US presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.
Supporters of Brexit admit there may be some short-term pain for Britain’s $2.9 trillion economy. Notably, the deal will give Britain’s vast financial center, the biggest source of its export and tax revenue, only a basic level of access to the bloc’s markets after Brexit.
Such an arrangement would give Britain a similar level of access to the EU as major US and Japanese firms, while tying it to many EU finance rules for years to come.
But keen Brexiteers say that, in the long term, Britain will prosper when cut free from the EU — which they cast as a failing German-dominated experiment in European integration.