LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union and Britain have agreed a draft Brexit divorce deal text and Prime Minister Theresa May will present the agreement to her senior ministers on Wednesday, the BBC said.
Britain’s Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington arrives in Downing Street, London, Britain, November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
While officials choreograph the first withdrawal of a sovereign state from the EU, it remains unclear whether May can get any deal approved by the British parliament.
“Source confirms divorce deal text agreed at technical level,” BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said on Twitter on Tuesday. “Cabinet to meet early afternoon tomorrow… might be official confirmation soon.”
Tom Newton Dunn, the political editor at The Sun newspaper, said: “Cabinet ministers are being called into No10 to see the PM one by one tonight ahead of full Cabinet meeting tomorrow to sign off Brexit divorce deal. Endgame is beginning.”
Ireland’s national broadcaster said the text was agreed late on Monday and then transmitted to London. RTE quoted sources as saying it was “as stable as it can be”, but that it would be incorrect to say the Brexit negotiations had “concluded”.
Sterling, which has see-sawed since reaching $1.50 just before results of the 2016 referendum vote for Britain to leave the EU, surged to $1.3030 GBP=D3.
According to RTE, there will be one insurance policy to avoid a return to controls on the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, the so-called Northern Irish “backstop”.
That will come in the form of a temporary UK-wide customs arrangement, with specific provisions for Northern Ireland which go deeper on the issue of customs and alignment with the rules of the single market than for the rest of the United Kingdom.
It will also include an agreed review mechanism, RTE said, adding that it understood there was still “further shuttling” to be done between London and Brussels.
The EU and the United Kingdom need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world’s biggest trading bloc and the fifth largest national economy.
But May has struggled to untangle nearly 46 years of membership without damaging trade or upsetting the lawmakers who will ultimately decide the fate of any deal she can secure.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper, William James and Kylie MacLellan in London; writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by David Stamp