EU ministers agree to terms of divorce
Rebel lawmakers trying to force no confidence vote
British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday vowed to stick to her draft European Union divorce deal as dissenting lawmakers in her own party tried to trigger a leadership challenge.
Since striking a deal with the EU on Tuesday, May has faced the most perilous crisis of her premiership with several ministers resigning, including her Brexit minister.
May has pledged to fight on, warning that toppling her risks delaying Britain's exit from the EU or leaving without a deal, a step that could thrust the world's fifth largest economy into the unknown.
"We have in view a deal that will work for the UK and, let no one be in any doubt, I am determined to deliver it," May said in a speech to Britain's premier business lobby, the CBI, to loud applause. "We are not talking about political theory but the reality of people's lives and livelihoods."
"While the world is changing fast, our geography is not: Europe will always be our most proximate goods market, and ensuring we have free-flowing borders is crucial," May said, citing the importance of the automotive industry.
The EU is due to hold a summit to discuss the draft deal on November 25. Some Brexit-supporting ministers are reported to want to rewrite parts of it, though Germany has ruled this out.
The EU's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the draft deal was "fair and balanced".
May said she wanted any Brexit transition, during which Britain will remain a member in all but name, to have ended by the time of the next national election, due in 2022, reported Reuters.
Meanwhile, European ministers signed off draft divorce deal yesterday as they launched an intense final week of negotiations on future cross-Channel ties.
Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and the Union's Austrian rotating presidency said the negotiated text would be presented to EU leaders at a signing summit on Sunday, reported AFP.
More than two years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, on what terms or even if it will leave as planned on March 29, 2019.