Brexit: Beyond the furore, is there a good deal somewhere?

Theresa May holds a news conference at Downing Street in London
Theresa May holds a news conference at Downing Street in London Copyright REUTERSREUTERS
By Angela Barnes
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Theresa May has promoted the draft Brexit agreement as a great path ahead for the UK, despite the resignations within her government.


Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated in a statement that the course she has set out in the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement is the right one for the British people.

"My approach throughout has been to put the national interest first," she said.

Indeed, the historic document takes into consideration many key issues that have been contentious for a large number of British citizens for some time. May is aware of this, and highlighted these areas in her statements on this most compelling of Thursdays.

Border control

May tried to drive home the positives from the agreement, including taking back full control of UK borders to bring an end to the free movement of people.

This outcome, the prime minister earlier insisted before MPs, respected the mandate set out by the UK referendum result.

Financial control

During her Downing Street statement, she also pushed that the deal gave back "full control of our money," she said, "so we decide ourselves how to spend it on priorities like our NHS".

Legal control

May also tried to highlight how the deal gave back full control of UK laws by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.

Agricultural and fisheries policies

She also said the draft agreement got the UK out of the common agricultural and fisheries policies for good.

"That is exactly what this agreement will deliver. Free movement ended, vast annual payments stopped, the jurisdiction of the ECJ over," May summarised.

Manufacturing jobs

The prime minister said the agreement also protects manufacturing jobs that rely on the cross-border trade of goods.

"For parts to flow easily in and out of the UK, allowing for integrated supply chains.

"This agreement protects that," she insisted.

Northern Ireland

She argued in her statement that the deal protects the peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland by leaving the EU as one United Kingdom by having no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Much of the opposition to the draft deal has focused on the Irish backstop, yet May insisted before MPs earlier that this was an insurance policy which neither side wanted to have to use.


May has stayed on message to try and drive momentum around her arguments. However, the resignations from within her government, and the letters of no confidence submitted, make it clear that many are unconvinced her deal is a good one - and her premiership hangs very much in the balance.

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