Theresa May: The shape of the 'vast majority' of the deal is now clear

Theresa May: The shape of the 'vast majority' of the deal is now clear

Monday, October 22, 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the “vast majority” of the Brexit deal “is now clear”.

Mrs May told MPs in the House of Commons: “As I reported to the House last Monday, the shape of the deal across the vast majority of the Withdrawal Agreement is now clear. 

“Since Salzburg we have agreed the broad scope of provisions that set out the governance and dispute resolution arrangements for our Withdrawal Agreement.”

Mrs May said that the UK Government had now developed protocols for UK Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, and a protocol for Gibraltar with Spain.

She said: “This progress in the last three weeks builds on the areas where we have already reached agreement - on citizens’ rights, on the financial settlement, on the Implementation Period, and in Northern Ireland, agreement on the preservation of the particular rights for UK and Irish citizens - and on the special arrangements between us such as the Common Travel Area, which has existed since before either the UK or Ireland ever became members of the European Economic Community.

“Mr Speaker, taking all of this together, 95 per cent of the Withdrawal Agreement and its protocols are now settled."

She added: “There is one real sticking point left, but a considerable one, which is how we guarantee that - in the unlikely event our future relationship is not in place by the end of the Implementation Period - there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. 

“The commitment to avoiding a hard border is one this House emphatically endorsed and enshrined in law in the Withdrawal Act earlier this year. 

“As I set out last week, the original backstop proposal from the EU was one we could not accept, as it would mean creating a customs border down the Irish Sea and breaking up the integrity of our United Kingdom.

“I do not believe that any UK Prime Minister could ever accept this. 

“And I certainly will not.”


'How are you doing Prime Minister?'

This comes after Conservative MPs anonymously suggested that the Prime Minister would be “knifed in the front” and should “bring her own noose” to a meeting with Conservative backbenchers.

Writing in the Sun on the same day, the Prime Minister said that she was often asked how she was, and was aware of the speculation around how Brexit negotiations might destabilise her leadership.

But she claimed not to think about herself, and said the “difficult days” in Brussels were worth it to deliver what the people want.

“‘How are YOU doing Prime Minister?’ one journalist asked me recently. I didn’t reply at the time but I’m going to give Sun readers the answer now – and it’s very simple.

“None of this is about me. It’s all about you,” she wrote.

Later in the piece, she added: "The Brexit talks are not about me or my personal fortunes".


'The interests of the privileged few' 

Theresa May leaves Downing Street ahead of her expected statement on Brexit to Parliament. Image: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

This rhetoric of “none of this is about me” was repeated in her speech on Monday.

Mrs May said: “When I stood in Downing Street and addressed the nation for the first time, I pledged that the government I lead will not be driven by the interests of the privileged few but of ordinary working families.

“And that is what guides me every day in these negotiations.

“Before any decision, I ask: how do I best deliver the Brexit that the British people voted for.

“How do I best take back control of our money, borders and laws.

“How do I best protect jobs and make sure nothing gets in the way of our brilliant entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“And how do I best protect the integrity of our precious United Kingdom, and protect the historic progress we have made in Northern Ireland.

“And, if doing those things means I get difficult days in Brussels, then so be it.”

The Prime Minister’s pledge “not to be driven by the interests of the privileged few” caused shouts from the opposition.