Brexit deal expected to be agreed within the next three weeks, claims Dominic Raab
The UK could agree a Brexit deal with the EU within the next three weeks, Dominic Raab has predicted.
In a surprise development, the Brexit Secretary said he expected the withdrawal agreement to be wrapped up in time for him to be grilled on it by MPs on 21 November.
It is the first time that a senior government figure has put a precise date on when a deal could finally be done.
Up until now, the Government have only said that they are hopeful of an agreement being reached by the autumn.
Mr Raab made his bold prediction in a letter to Hilary Benn, chairman of the Brexit Select Committee, who had asked him when he could give them an update on negotiations.
In his letter, the minister said: "As indicated to you at the conclusion of the evidence session on 24 July, I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 November to be suitable."
Mr Raab's optimistic outlook sent the value of the pound soaring to its highest level in three weeks, and raised hopes that an emergency EU summit could take place later this month to formally approve a deal.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister stopped short of echoing Mr Raab's prediction and said: "My position is as it has always been, which is we want to conclude this process as soon as possible."
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign group, said: "This is another arrogant statement from the Brexit secretary. There's no indication that any progress has been made on the Irish border question.
"But more than that, there's absolutely nothing to suggest that any deal brought back would be acceptable to Parliament - or even Dominic Raab's own party.
"Raab is promising a lot, but he's all talk and no trousers."
A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union later said: “There is no set date for the negotiations to conclude. The 21st November was the date offered by the Chair of the Select Committee for the Secretary of State to give evidence.”
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