Theresa May pleads with Cabinet to back her Brexit deal 'in the national interest'

Posted On: 
14th November 2018

Theresa May has urged the Cabinet to back her Brexit deal "in the national interest" ahead of a make-or-break meeting this afternoon.

Theresa May called on her Cabinet to back her Brexit deal ahead of a crunch meeting today
Credit: 
PA

Speaking publicly for the first time since EU and UK officials agreed a deal, Mrs May challenged her top ministers to sign off on the agreement when they meet at 2pm today.

"The Cabinet will meet this afternoon to consider the draft agreement the negotiating deals have reached in Brussels and the Cabinet will decide on the next steps in the national interest," she told MPs at Prime Minister's Questions.

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"We will take back control of our borders, our laws and our money, leave the Commons Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy while protecting jobs, security and the integrity of our United Kingdom." 

The Prime Minister meanwhile vowed to "come back to the House to update it on the outcome" of the crunch Cabinet meeting.

But her call for unity came as her own backbenchers and the DUP - who Mrs May relies on for a Commons majority - lashed out at the 500-page plan.

Top Conservative Brexiteer Peter Bone warned the embattled Mrs May: "If the media reports about the EU agreement are in any way accurate, you are not delivering the Brexit people voted for.

"And today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters across the country."

The Prime Minister last night summoned her senior ministers to Downing Street to view the 500-page divorce deal in a secure room ahead of the full Number 10 summit this afternoon.

Today rumours swirled in Westminster that International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, were among those with doubts about the deal.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn confronted Mrs May over the turmoil today, saying: “After two years of bungled negotiations, from what we know the Government’s deal is a failure in its own terms.

“It doesn’t deliver a Brexit for the whole country… It breaches the Prime Minister’s own red lines.

“It doesn’t deliver a strong economic deal that support jobs and industry. And we know they haven’t prepared seriously for no deal.”

The Opposition has indicated in recent weeks that it will not back the Government’s deal, although some Labour backbenchers MPs have suggested they could defy the leadership over the issue and support Mrs May in a Commons vote.

Elsewhere Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said there was now the "possibility or probability" that an emergency EU summit would be called for 25 November for the two sides to sign off on the UK’s final Brexit offer.

It will then go before Parliament, giving MPs the power to rubber-stamp or reject the plan.