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Theresa May Wins Cabinet Backing for UK Soft Brexit Blueprint

Theresa May Wins Cabinet Backing  for UK Soft Brexit BlueprintTheresa May Wins Cabinet Backing  for UK Soft Brexit Blueprint

UK Prime Minister Theresa May won a crucial victory over pro-Brexit cabinet colleagues on Friday, as her government backed a wide-ranging plan to keep close trade ties with the European Union after leaving.

The pound rose and the country’s main business lobby welcomed the proposal. May also stamped her authority on her cabinet, warning colleagues that if they criticize government policy they must resign, reported Bloomberg.

Following a day of talks in her country residence, May’s cabinet signed off on a blueprint for a new UK-EU “free trade area,” with interwoven customs regimes, and identical regulations for industrial and agri-food goods.

There was no such plan for the country’s huge services sector, and London-based banks were warned they will lose their current levels of access to the EU market. New arrangements will seek to preserve the “mutual benefits of integrated markets.”

After weeks of speculation about cabinet resignations and leadership plots against her, the deal marks a significant milestone for May and for Brexit. The plan represents a closer relationship to the EU single market than many pro-Brexit campaigners hoped for when May first set out her plans in January last year.

“Essentially it seems like May won, with some minor throwaway lines to placate the Brexiters,” said Sam Lowe, a senior researcher fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

Pro-Brexit lawmakers exchanged complaints on their WhatsApp group, with former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith saying, “I want to know what the Brexit Cabinet ministers were doing.”

Another pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker, Andrew Bridgen, told Bloomberg, “This looks like a weak form of Brexit even before the EU negotiators weaken it further.”

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed the discussions on Twitter, saying he looks forward to the so-called White Paper.

There is now a chance that the negotiations between the UK and EU—which have been stalled for weeks—will be able to move forward toward concluding the divorce terms and mapping out the outline of a future trade deal by October.

 

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