Theresa May defends draft Brexit deal amid conservative outcry | News | DW | 15.11.2018
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Theresa May defends draft Brexit deal amid conservative outcry

The British prime minister has faced shrill opposition to a draft deal from her own Cabinet and Conservative Party since she presented it on Wednesday. Some of her MPs want to oust her from office.

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UK still deeply divided over Brexit

Theresa May defended her draft Brexit deal on Thursday following resignations by senior ministers and an attempt by some members of her Conservative Party to start a process to replace her as party leader and therefore as prime minister.

"Am I going to see this through? Yes," May said. "This is a Brexit that delivers on the priority of the British people."

The draft deal would protect British jobs, trade, security and a fragile peace in Northern Ireland, she said.

Conservatives dis May

One of the most ardent Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party, Jacob Rees-Mogg, had earlier requested a vote of no confidence in the British prime minister.

Watch video 00:45

'Am I going to see this through? Yes!'

Rees-Mogg, who leads the Brexit-backing European Research Group (ERG), wrote that May's deal "fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the Prime Minister."

Read more: UK leadership challenge: How does it work?

A total of 48 Conservative MPs would have to sign no-confidence letters to trigger a no-confidence vote. Rees-Mogg said the list of MPs signing letters was growing after he announced his submission.

The challenge to May came after several of her ministers resigned in opposition to the draft deal drawn up with Brussels:

  • Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab
  • Works and Pension Secretary Esther McVey
  • Junior minister Shailesh Vara in the Northern Ireland office
  • Junior minister Suella Braverman in the Brexit office

Raab said he could not "in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU" in his resignation letter to May.

Condemnation in Parliament

May's Cabinet had approved the draft on Wednesday, but lawmakers from all parties denounced it during a parliamentary debate on Thursday morning.

Pro-Brexit Conservatives said it did not deliver the result a majority had voted for in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the draft was "half-baked" and pledged that his party would vote against it.

May requires a majority in Parliament to approve the deal after it has been signed off by EU leaders. But widespread parliamentary opposition has raised doubts about whether she can get the deal approved.

EU leaders are set to meet on November 25 at a special summit in Brussels to discuss the draft agreement.

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