UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday, following a conversation with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, expressed confidence that the draft Brexit deal that is currently going through final discussions would be approved by the European Council on Sunday and will apply to the entire United Kingdom, including the overseas territory of Gibraltar.
Mrs. May said the British people want Brexit to be settled and to move on. The current deal offers the way to do it, she added.
In response to the PM's address, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn launched an attack on Theresa May and her government's Brexit deal.
"We have 25 pages of waffle. This empty document could have been written 2 years ago. It is peppered with phrases, such as the "parties will look at," "the parties will explore." What on earth the government has been doing for the last two years?"
Not a bad line from Corbyn: Brexit political declaration represents less than a page per month since the EU referendum.— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) November 22, 2018
“This is a vague menu of options — and not a plan” says Corbyn. PM retorts that he probably hasn’t read the Political Declaration.— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) November 22, 2018
A Conservative MP, Iain Duncan Smith, argued that Britain would fall into the Northern Ireland backstop in its current form, which means the UK will be bound by restrictions of separate customs arrangements for London and Belfast.
"None of this is at all workable unless we get the Withdrawal Agreement now amended so that any arrangements we make strip out the backstop and leave us with that positive open border we talked about," Mr. Smith told the PM.
WATCH | Iain Duncan Smith once again raises the concern of the "unworkable" backstop which will break up the UK and trap us inside a customs union which we cannot unilaterally escape from.— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) November 22, 2018
This will not change. The only way to change the policy is to change the leader! pic.twitter.com/n1tpCUbzVX
A "backstop" arrangement was proposed as part of the Britain's withdrawal deal from the EU. It would ensure an open border by keeping Northern Ireland inside the EU customs union and large parts of the single market. Britain has suggested a UK-wide backstop, with Britain remaining aligned with the EU customs union for a limited time after 2020.
Jeffrey Donaldson of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) argued that alternative arrangements can be put in place without the need for the backstop.
"If she wants to have the support of my party for the withdrawal agreement, then we need to see an end of the backstop, and those alternative arrangements put in place," he said in the parliament.
WATCH | Scathing from @BorisJohnson who calls on Theresa May to "junk forthwith the backstop" which gives the EU a continuing veto over Britain taking back control of its laws and which "makes a complete nonsense of Brexit." 👏— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) November 22, 2018
🙋♂️ Support us at https://t.co/iICfFb8qqg pic.twitter.com/zXI87KGlw8
WATCH | @DominicRaab: "The backstop ties the UK to the Customs Union and Single Market rules with no voice and an EU veto over our exit. The top reason people voted to leave was to take back democratic control.— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) November 22, 2018
Isn't it the regrettable reality this deal gives even more away?" pic.twitter.com/9ByJRAhEsl
The EU is unlikely to agree a new economic partnership because the withdrawal agreement locks us into a backstop and paying £39bn, says Theresa Villiers pic.twitter.com/Emb0Humsm8— BrexitCentral (@BrexitCentral) November 22, 2018
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Earlier on Thursday, Mrs. May said the text of the declaration on future relations has been agreed between the UK and the European Union.