May survives first Brexit hurdle as Brussels publishes draft deal

May survives first Brexit hurdle as Brussels publishes draft deal
By Chris Harris
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British PM Theresa May secures senior MPs' approval of her draft Brexit deal as Brussels publishes the draft document.


British PM Theresa May has secured senior MPs' approval of her draft Brexit deal but admits bigger challenges remain in the days ahead.

May, under fire from her own backbench colleagues over the agreement she has struck with Brussels, was locked in a five-hour meeting with her Cabinet on Wednesday.

She emerged to claim ministers had given her their approval but reports later surfaced that this was not unanimous.

Shortly afterwards, the European Commission published the draft Brexit agreement — all 585 pages of it.

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, then emerged to claim the deal would avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

But it's unclear whether this will be enough to please the Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up May's Conservatives in Westminster.

To get the deal through the British parliament, she will also have to convince many of her own MPs.

One of the most prominent, Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg, tweeted on Tuesday evening to say he could not support the plans.

May needs the support of around 320 MPs.

She could also face a leadership challenge if at least 48 Conservatives submit letters demanding a no-confidence vote to the chairman of the party's 1922 Committee.

Watch in full: Theresa May speaks after five-hour Cabinet meeting

Watch in full: Theresa May speaks on Brexit in parliament

Watch in full: Michel Barnier on the Brexit agreement

Analysis of early reaction to the draft deal

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