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UK to face more uncertainty, division if Brexit fails: May

Vidya Ram London | Updated on November 23, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May (file pic)

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday reiterated that Britain will not be able to get a better deal from the EU but declined to say whether she believes the controversial withdrawal deal would make Britain better off than it would without any deal.

Earlier in the day, Britain’s former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC he believe the withdrawal agreement — which he resigned over — represented worse terms than staying in the EU under existing terms.

During a radio phone in — the second May has taken part in the last week in an attempt to get the public on board with the deal in the face of parliamentary opposition — the Prime Minister repeatedly declined to specifically answer one caller’s question on this, insisting the deal simply represented a ‘different’ future for the UK.

She was delivering on what people had voted for, she insisted, adding that if the deal didn’t go through Britain will end up at “square one” with “more uncertainty and division.” While insisting she was not threatening Brexit supporting MPs who are warning they could vote against the deal — she pointed to people within Parliament who she said wanted to “frustrate Brexit and stop Brexit.”

“It’s important that they know that.” However, she insisted that from her perspective there was no question of ‘no Brexit.’

Despite the Prime Minister reaching agreement with EU negotiators on both a draft withdrawal agreement and a non-binding draft political declaration setting out the terms of the future relationship, her problems have mounted amid criticism from within the UK and outside it. While Labour has described the deal as “botched” and pledged to vote against it on the grounds it fails to deliver on its six tests of a good Brexit, there are plenty within the Conservative Party who have also opposed the deal, mainly because of the proposed backstop — or insurance policy — to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Over the past couple of days tensions with Spain have also ramped up ahead of a summit on Sunday at which EU leaders are meant to formalise and finalise the agreement. Spain is unhappy with Britain’s refusal to put a clause into the agreement to ensure that the issue of Gibraltar was the subject of separate negotiations with Spain rather than with the EU as a whole. May, eager to quell criticism within her party that any deal should avoid challenging the integrity of the UK and its territories, has been adamant that it has to remain part of wider negotiations.

Published on November 23, 2018

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