- 08 Dec 17
Theresa May has struck a deal with the EU in a bid to move Brexit talks on to the next phase and resolve issues surrounding the Irish border.
While many commentators have accused the deal of being a "fudge", rather than a solid deal, it is believed that it will mean there will be no hard border with Ireland; and the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be protected.
The European Commission president called today's announcement a "breakthrough" and he said that he was confident EU leaders will approve it when they meet next Thursday for a European Council summit. They will need to give their backing to the deal if post-Brexit trade talks are to begin.
The DUP, whose opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down, said there was still "more work to be done" on the border issue and how it votes on the final deal "will depend on its contents". Mrs May will also need to win over the fractured Tory party in Westminster.
The deal means that there will be guarantee of no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and that the "constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom" will be maintained. It will also mean that EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa will have their rights to live, work and study protected.
As well as this, Downing Street has announced that the so-called "divorce bill" from the EU will amount to between £35bn and £39bn, including budget contributions during a two-year "transition" period after March 2019.
We do not want to see a border in the Irish Sea, any more than we want to see a border between Newry and Dundalk or between Letterkenny and Derry. We want to build bridges, not borders. We want to free travel and free trade to continue as it does now and has done for 20 years. pic.twitter.com/rBF3QAvKAE
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) December 8, 2017
Since Monday we have been engaging with the Government to ensure the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom is not compromised as we leave the European Union. pic.twitter.com/SiF8gFdwL6
— DUP (@duponline) December 8, 2017