Theresa May: Optimism growing around Brexit after deal

Theresa May: Optimism growing around Brexit after deal

Theresa May will tell the Commons on Monday (11 December): "This is not about a hard or a soft Brexit. there is, I believe, a new sense of optimism now in the talks and I fully hope and expect that we will confirm the arrangements I have set out today in the European Council later this week".

The government struck a deal with Brussels last week on three priority separation issues, paving the way for European Union leaders meeting on Thursday and Friday to approve the start of trade talks.

It's not entirely clear whether this means that the whole United Kingdom will essentially remain a part of the single market or the customs union, or whether it means that Northern Ireland will have a special status.

After days of diplomacy, there was a compromise - if no overall Brexit deal is secured, Britain will keep "full alignment" with those rules of the EU's single market that help cooperation between Ireland's north and south.

But Mr Davis claimed his words had been "completely twisted".

"Formally speaking, the joint report is not legally binding, because it is not yet the Article 50 withdrawal agreement", European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said in reference to Friday's deal.

In a statement, chairpersons Paul McGarry SC and Liam McCollum QC said they welcomed "the recognition and protection afforded to the relevant key legal provisions".

May is treading a fine line to balance the competing demands of Brexit supporters in her cabinet, such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, with the wishes of her divided backbenchers as well as those of Brussels, Dublin and Belfast. That just sounds freakish to me.

The deal signed off last week contained UK-EU agreements on the issues of citizens' rights, Britain's financial settlement, and the avoidance of hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. I know that some doubted we would reach this stage.

"The arrangements we have agreed to reach the second phase of the talks are entirely consistent with the principles and objectives that I set out in my speeches in Florence and at Lancaster House".

But May said the commitments made in the first round of talks - which includes a payment of £35-39 billion over many years to meet European Union obligations - were necessary to sever ties with the bloc.

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