BREXIT: EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Posted November 16, 2018

When you strip away the detail, the choice before us is clear. This outline remains open for further negotiation ahead of any summit and a final deal will depend on it being acceptable to the United Kingdom in its full form. We can risk no Brexit at all.

In a statement outside Downing Street late Wednesday, Ms May said her deal was "the best that could be negotiated".

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in the Department for Exiting the European Union, also quit saying in a letter "I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet".

Arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg submitted a letter of no-confidence seeking the ousting of Prime Minister Theresa May. He asked rhetorically in Parliament, "should I not write" to Graham Brady, who heads a committee governing Conservative leadership contests.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's position as leader of the ruling Conservative Party is under assault by eurosceptic lawmakers who reject her European Union exit strategy and want a more pro-Brexit leader.

"Above all, I can not reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election", Raab said.

The organisation's chairman David Dingle said truck drivers could be stuck on roads to Dover for up to two days if there was no deal.

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Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Boris, who resigned as foreign secretary over Brexit in July, set the ball rolling last week after he resigned as transport minister over what he called Theresa May's "delusional" Brexit plans.

At Westminster, speculation over possible resignations focused on Brexit-backing ministers such as Penny Mordaunt, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey.

May said there would not be a second vote "as far as I'm concerned".

May attempted to defend her deal before a hostile and divided parliament, just minutes after several cabinet ministers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, quit the government.

More than two years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum, May told reporters outside her Downing Street residence that she had won over her divided cabinet, which includes some senior Brexiteers.

The developments threaten to derail the prime minister's Brexit strategy ahead of a crucial EU summit, which European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed would take place on November 25, "if nothing extraordinary happens".

Both members from May's Tory party and opposition Labour told her that her draft deal is disastrous and would not pass the United Kingdom parliament, which is expected to vote on the deal sometime in December.

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A source told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg that Environment Secretary Michael Gove had been offered the job as Brexit Secretary and was understood to be considering it, but to be asking for assurances that he could pursue a different kind of deal.

It was not immediately clear whether any ministers would resign over the deal, which May hopes will satisfy both Brexit voters and European Union supporters by ensuring close ties with the bloc after Britain leaves on March 29.

May, who has persuaded a majority of her cabinet to back the deal, is addressing lawmakers Thursday morning over the terms of the proposed divorce deal.

Some in Britain, including lawmakers on both sides of the debate, have been calling for a second public vote on any deal that the U.K. Parliament approves.

The leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, Ian Blackford, said May "looks desperate and defeated" and is "trying to sell a deal that is dead in the water".

Ms May was preparing to start selling her Brexit deal to parliament, boosted by news that Europe is preparing a rapid summit to sign off on the agreement.

"What I can tell you is there's no orchestrated attempt to put letters in", Burns said. But officials in Brussels admitted the plan could go awry depending on events in London.

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"Since the very beginning, we have had no doubt that Brexit is a lose-lose situation, and that our negotiations are only about damage control", he said.