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Theresa May to sign Brexit deal with EU leaders as her Cabinet plot to rip up her agreement

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theresa may brexit deal summit
Theresa May is in Brussels to meet with EU
leaders.

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  • Theresa May is in Brussels for a special EU summit to
    sign off her Brexit deal.
  • However, May’s Cabinet are already preparing to rip up
    the deal when it is thrown out by the UK parliament when it
    returns to the UK in early December.
  • Some senior Cabinet ministers are pushing May to move
    decisively towards accepting a soft Brexit inside a permanent
    customs union with the EU.
  • Doing so could potentially draw the support of
    opposition MPs but would risk a major split within her own
    party.

LONDON — Theresa May is set to agree her Brexit Withdrawal
Agreement with EU leaders on Sunday, as she faces a fresh
rebellion from her Cabinet at home that could yet force her to
rip up the deal.

The prime minister is in Brussels for a special summit with
leaders of the 27 other EU countries. However, as she prepares to
sign up Britain to the terms of the deal agreed in principle last
week, members of her Cabinet at home are threatening to force her
to throw out the deal if and when it is rejected by the UK
parliament.

With all opposition parties and up to 80 Conservative MPs pledged
to oppose May’s deal when it comes to the House of Commons,
Remainer ministers in her Cabinet are pushing for the prime
minister to seek an alternative deal that would leave Britain
with a closer relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Five ministers, led by the Chancellor Philip Hammond are
reportedly pushing for May
to adopt a permanent customs
partnership with the EU that could potentially draw the support
of Labour MPs as well as the Democratic Unionist Party that has
propped up her minority government. 

DUP leader Arlene Foster said on Saturday that she would be
willing to support a Norway-style soft Brexit as long as it
prevented any new border and custom controls between Northern
Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

One senior Conservative told the Sunday Times that any
attempt to force a hard no-deal Brexit would lead to a mass
walkout from Cabinet: “If she said she’d go for mitigated no
deal, she would lose most of her cabinet. And this time she
wouldn’t be losing Esther McVey and Dominic Raab, she’d be losing
her most senior ministers. Hammond, Rudd, Lidington, Gauke and
Clark would all resign.”

Meanwhile, Cabinet Brexiteers, including the leader of the
House Andrea Leadsom are also poised to quit if May moves any
further towards accepting a closer relationship with the EU after
Brexit. 

In an open letter to the nation written ahead of today’s
summit, May promised to bring the country together with her
deal.

“I want that to be a moment of renewal and reconciliation
for our whole country,” she writes.

“It must mark the point when we put aside the labels
of ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ for good and we come together again as one
people. To do that we need to get on with Brexit now by getting
behind this deal. I will be campaigning with my heart and soul to
win that vote.”

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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