Deal significant personal achievement for Theresa May, says Michael Gove

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Michael Gove has described the deal as a “significant personal achievement for the Prime Minister” in the interests of the whole of the UK.

The Brexiteer Cabinet minister praised Theresa May’s skills as a negotiator and said she can now move forward to secure a free trade agreement with the EU.

“I think it’s important to recognise this is a significant personal political achievement for the Prime Minister,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“There won’t be, as some feared, a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. We remain one unified kingdom.

“More than that, the Prime Minister has also secured a deal that guarantees the rights of UK citizens abroad and also of the three million EU citizens here.”

The Environment Secretary tried to alleviate the concerns of some Brexit supporters over the continuing role of the European Court of Justice for eight years after withdrawal.

Countdown to Brexit: key events
(PA Graphics)

He said “it will be a matter for British judges to decide” what cases are referred to the court.

Mr Gove also played down talk of a £48 billion “divorce bill”, claiming it would be less than had been reported in the press, but refused to comment further on the figure.

Gove said the PM can now work towards a free trade agreement with the EU covering both goods and services, no tariff barriers, a recognition of professional qualifications.

He said there will be a two-year transition period where the UK can “iron out the details”.

Commenting on Mr Gove’s performance, Today presenter Nick Robinson tweeted: “Significant that Brexiteer shop steward @michaelgove chosen as official spokesman on Brexit deal. In return he lavishes praise on @theresa_may on @BBCr4today.”

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