Brexit deal is 95% done, Theresa May will tell MPs

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Theresa May will insist the Brexit deal is 95% complete as she faces MPs after a weekend of vicious attacks from within her own ranks.

In a Commons statement after talks with EU leaders in Brussels, the Prime Minister will say the “shape of the deal across the vast majority” of the withdrawal agreement is now clear.

But Cabinet ministers reportedly laid bare their concerns about her Brexit negotiations in a marathon conference call.

(PA Graphics)

Mrs May is facing demands to appear before the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers on Wednesday to explain directly her negotiating strategy, but party chairman Brandon Lewis is currently pencilled in to speak.

In an article for The Sun, the PM said she was making the “right choices, not the easy ones”.

Admitting to sometimes feeling frustrated by the “endless back and forth” of the talks, she appealed for patience as “the finish line is in sight”.

In a statement on Monday, the PM will say that since last month’s fractious summit in Salzburg, “important progress” has been made on issues like security, transport and services.

Protocols have been developed on how Brexit will impact Gibraltar and the UK’s military base in Cyprus.

“And all of this from the last three weeks alone, is in addition to the agreements we had already reached,” she will say.

Mrs May will tell the Commons that “taking all of this together, 95% of the withdrawal agreement and its protocols are now settled”.

But she will add: “As I set out last week, the original backstop proposal from the EU was one we could not accept, as it would mean creating a customs border down the Irish Sea and breaking up the integrity of the UK.

“I do not believe that any UK prime minister could ever accept this. And I certainly will not.”

Furious backbenchers warned the Prime Minister she is “drinking in the last chance saloon” after tensions flared over the possibility of extending the transition period.

Senior Brexiteer Theresa Villiers criticised “disturbing” anonymous briefings to Sunday newspapers, including claims the PM was entering the “killing zone”.

Conservative Party Conference 2017
Brexiteer Theresa Villiers (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the exit agreement must be finalised by the end of next month to allow new laws to be put in place in time for exit day.

In Brussels, Brexiteer former Cabinet ministers Owen Paterson and Iain Duncan Smith along with former Northern Ireland first minister Lord Trimble, will meet EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier for talks.

They are expected to tell him Mrs May’s Chequers plan for future trading relations is unworkable.

Labour has warned Mrs May that it will not back her Brexit blueprint when it reaches the Commons.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said there is a “real lack of confidence” that Mrs May can bring back “anything by way of a good deal”.

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