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    #Brexit: 'We Have a More Concrete Scenario Than We Had Before' - Scholar

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    The deal reached by Britain and the EU unlocks a bright future for the United Kingdom. This is what UK Prime Minister Theresa May said at her national briefing after the Brexit summit in Brussels. Sputnik has discussed the latest Brexit developments with Marian Arribas-Tome from the School of Politics at the University of East Anglia, UK.

    Sputnik: The EU has endorsed the deal and now it will go to the UK Parliament for scrutiny. What will be the lawmakers' decision, in your view?

    Marian Arribas-Tome: This is a very difficult thing to predict, as you know there's a lot of speculation still on the table. We had a very positive take on the day from President Macron, we also had Prime Minister of Lithuania, for example, mention some misgivings and also actually mentioning that anything really could happen on the side of the UK and the decision that the UK parliament could take, especially with the possibility that this agreement could be rejected.

    So she has taken, perhaps, a completely different scenario in mind, mentioning that, of course, we're facing a possibility that the people in Britain may  have to go for new elections, they would need to vote this agreement, they will be given perhaps this possibility or there will be a new request to re-negotiate the agreement in the future. So basically, these possible scenarios are still in. There's still no guarantee that any of them are not going to happen.

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    Sputnik: Now Jean-Claude Juncker qualified the deal as the best and only deal possible, do you agree that there's no other possible deal that could've been reached?

    Marian Arribas-Tome: I think they have to settle the outcome with this phrase because it has required a lot of talks and a lot of failure on the way to this day, and I guess they know better. They have already perhaps got a better understanding of how difficult it is to actually put this into practice on a table that everybody can agree with.

    There are too many countries in the European Union side and Britain had lots of different interest, on the one hand, to protect and to argue for, that would collide, still to this day, with what the European Union was accepting or prepared to accept. I think we have to look in a positive way, though. We have come a long way. This is becoming more of a concrete scenario than we had before.

    Before it was very abstract, still there are clauses in some working documents that are currently very vague but we're getting to completion. I think that is a positive step, however, it's difficult to assess the quality of the agreement from the perspective of just the observers that we have. We can think of the fact that we have moved forward as a positive step and I think that's the best thing we can say at the moment but there's still a lot to be done.

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    Sputnik: Once this deal is signed is there any chance of this deal being changed, is there any opportunity or any provision to make some changes because some are saying that this is a good step and we can further try to get additional changes in the future so we can get to where we want to be, or do you think once this is struck there's not going to be an opportunity to change what was agreed upon?

    Marian Arribas-Tome: Never say never. I suppose you could always learn from experience and looking back see that things that were rejected in the past, even within the context of Brexit, have been negotiated and then positions were moved, so from that perspective one has to keep an open mind as for the prospect of this happening as well as in that regard.

    I think Jean-Claude Juncker has been very assertive in a way, that he said that it was a sad day for Europe. I think he used the word tragedy, but this the only possible agreement, is a strong statement coming from the European Union and I think we should take this seriously, and I think it is necessary that some form of limits are being set because otherwise we could end up in a never-ending Brexit situation and nobody wants to have this.

    Sputnik: The DUP's Arlene Foster has said that before they would agree to this deal that her party would like to have a review of the Confidence and Supply agreement, can you comment on that and how much of an issue is that going to be for Theresa May?

    Marian Arribas-Tome: Well, they are counting on them quite a bit to stay in power and that's clearly an issue and there's no clarity on how they're going to take this from now on. They have expressed disappointment on the way things have been handled but they also have said that if the parliament gives the go-ahead they will have to reconsider their views in light of support.

    They're kind of waiting for the parliament to make a decision on this and I think then we will know better what their take will be. I think they're just not quite yet clear about what to do next, but they definitely have expressed unhappiness that could give way to anything, if Theresa May was losing her position this will have to be revisited also from the point of the DUP.

    So they're not yet committing themselves to anything clear but they have voiced two possible scenarios and one of them is definitely to, perhaps, support the deal if it goes through parliament. So I think we have to wait and see whether that's the case.

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    Sputnik: If the deal is voted down, of course, it's been said that Theresa May should not stay on as the prime minister, I'm just wondering how great do you think is the possibility that she will find support?

    Marian Arribas-Tome: I think in the British press there have been a lot of negative takes on this but I think the truth is that about 85 MPs that have openly expressed unhappiness and only about 25 or around that figure who actually wrote a letter to express a vote of no confidence to Theresa May. So the point is, it's not so clear that this is actually going to be supported so much. So Theresa May doesn't have necessarily enough opposition to face a situation where she is removed from power.

    Views and opinions expressed in the article are those of Marian Arribas-Tome and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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