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News | Published November 13 2018

Ministers summoned individually to meet prime minister tonight

An announcement late on Tuesday afternoon has confirmed that a “technical deal” regarding Brexit between British and European negotiators in Brussels. This follows a period of intense negotiations between both sides.

Theresa May has decided to meet each member of her cabinet individually tonight to share with them the details of the draft agreement. Downing Street has since announced that this will followed by an extraordinary cabinet at two o’clock on Wednesday afternoon following prime minister’s questions. 

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  • The Prime Minister announces that the EU and the UK have come to a "technical deal"
  • May will meet each member of the cabinet tonight to discuss the "deal"

The decision to meet ministers individually will put pressure on each and every one of them, especially the more eurosceptic among them, to back the prime minister privately before any public announcement tomorrow. It is already known that even members of the cabinet that supported the Remain campaign two years ago view the prime minister’s plan unfavourably. 

Theresa May has decided to meet each member of her cabinet individually tonight to share with them the details of the draft agreement

The technical deal reached will certainly involve some compromise on the future of the border between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic. If this involves keeping Northern Ireland in a European customs union, it will likely be unpalatable to Conservative European Research Group members, and especially the DUP and Scottish Conservatives, both of whom a view the economic splintering of the country would foretell the end of it as a political union.

In extraordinary scenes in Central Lobby this evening, a joint press conference occurred between the ERG and the Democratic Unionist Party. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the group, said that if the prime minister’s deal is what he expects it to be, that we will go “from being a vessel state to a slave state” and that “the cabinet should vote it down.

The former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has said that “if you believe in the economic freedom of this country” you cannot support this deal. He continued that this deal would threaten both our democracy and our Union.

Nigel Dodds, leader of the DUP at Westminster, reiterated his party’s position that “If we are taking rules and laws set in Brussels, that is unacceptable.” His fellow party member Sammy Wilson says it looks like May has broken her promise on the backstop and if that is true he doesn’t trust the prime minister. 

The rapidity of these statements certainly make it clear that this particular groups of MPs are trying to frame the deal before Mrs May has even had a chance to present this to members of her cabinet. Tellingly, Mark Francois, a longtime Conservative eurosceptic but most usually loyal to the party leadership has made clear that what cabinet members do in the next 24 hours will have serious consequences for them, the prime minister, and the party.

As this story unfolds tomorrow, we will be continue coverage.