UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who is to update the House of Commons of the British Parliament about progress in the Brexit talks, has briefed the MPs with her planned statements in advance, although she has preferred to keep it secret before.
May is expected to announce that “taking all of this together, 95% of the withdrawal agreement and its protocols are now settled,” the Guardian reports. She would also confirm that the UK negotiators have resolved several issues, including the status of Gibraltar, a British enclave on the coast of southern Spain, a protocol regarding the UK's military base in Cyprus and a dispute-solving mechanism for the EU and the UK.
She is also to highlight her government’s advances in the Brexit talks, namely the settled $51-billion divorce bill, agreeing on an implementation period until the end of 2020 and the status of EU citizens residing in the UK.
This charm offensive comes amid speculations about the possibility of May being overthrown by her own Conservative Party. The criticism among her fellow Tories is said to be growing; some of them have voiced discontent over the progress at the recent European summit on Brexit. Although May agreed on extending the transition period beyond December 2020, the key details of the so-called backstop, aimed to avoid a hard border in Ireland, remain unclear.
To trigger a non-confidence vote, at least 48 Conservative MPs should submit letters to a party chairman. In this light, a meeting of Tory backbenchers from the 1922 Committee, scheduled for October 24, is reported to be crucial.
The British outlets have cited unnamed MPs as saying that May “is in a killing zone,” and that she should "bring her own noose" to this meeting.
In his interview with the Mail on Sunday, Tory MP and vocal Brexit advocate Andrew Bridgen insisted that if May skips this gathering, she would risk letting these “letters go in even faster."
"This week Theresa May will find that she is drinking in the last chance saloon and the bad news for her is that the bar is already dry," he told the outlet.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis, who has been referred to as May’s possible successor, stated in the the Mail on Sunday that she had "managed to anger not just Leavers but ardent Remainers as well."
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab as well as Brexit minister Suella Braverman has tried to level down the showdown within their party and called for unity. Raab pointed out that "now is the time to play for the team."
"We are at the end stage of the negotiation. It is understandable that there are jitters on all sides of this debate. We need to hold our nerve. The end is in sight in terms of a good deal, the prize we want," he claimed, as cited by Sky.
Suella Braverman joined his call for the truce, saying that "colleagues are free to express themselves in the way they wish, but I am very clear that our party is stronger when it's united."