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Brexit EU summit LIVE: EU leaders issue ultimatum to MPs — back May's deal or get nothing

The prime minister says this is the 'best deal possible' and she will make the case to parliament and to the public

Shehab Khan
Sunday 25 November 2018 09:54 GMT
Theresa May reveals she is not sad about the UK leaving the EU

EU leaders have challenged MPs to either back Theresa May’s Brexit deal or face up to the economic consequences of crashing out of the bloc.

Heads of its 27 member states took little more than half an hour this morning to rubber-stamp the agreement setting the terms for Britain's departure.

However, the deal now faces a vote in the House of Commons, where the odds appear stacked against it as MPs of all stripes, including a significant portion of the prime minister’s own party, have made their opposition clear.

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Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, warned them the agreement was the “only deal possible” and hopes that a better one could be struck were in vain.

“Those who think by rejecting the deal that they would have a better deal will be disappointed in the first seconds after the rejection of this deal,” he said.

In a veiled plea to MPs Michel Barnier, Europe’s chief negotiator, called on “everyone to face up to their responsibilities”.

Mr Barnier said the deal with the UK was a "necessary step" to advance to the next phase of the negotiations.

"I have worked with my team and negotiated with the UK, never against the UK," he told reporters as he arrived for the summit.

"Now it is time for everybody to take their responsibility. This deal is a necessary step to build the trust between the UK and the EU we need to build.

"The next phase is an unprecedented and ambitious partnership. We will remain allies, partners and friends."

Ms May has written a letter to the British public pleading for the country’s support over the deal.

In her letter she promised a “brighter future” and said that Brexit would be "a moment of renewal and reconciliation for our whole country".


Welcome to The Independent's coverage of the crucial European Council summit in Brussels.

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 08:40

European leaders will be meeting today to decide whether to endorse Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 08:41

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 08:52

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 08:53

Ireland's premier, Leo Varadkar, has arrived in Brussels and said he anticipates the withdrawal agreement will gain approval from the EU27 member states in the next couple of hours.

Mr Varadkar said he was pleased to be in Brussels to sign off on the deal, which he said represented the culmination of nearly two years of work.

He said: 

It was a very difficult deal to negotiate

I anticipate that in the next couple of hours that agreement will get the assent of the 28 governments, 27 member states that are staying and also the government of the UK and that will allow us to move on

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 09:08

Arriving for the summit, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said:

This is the deal. It's the best deal possible and the EU will not change  its fundamental position when it comes to these issues.

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 09:14

Plenty of talk about "regret" and "tragedy" today. 

Irish leader Leo Varadkar said he still regretted the fact that the UK was leaving the European Union.

"The best outcome for Ireland, and I think for Europe and Britain, would be for the UK to stay in the European Union, to stay in the single market and customs union, but we respect their decision not to do that."

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 09:22

Former Tory leader and now prominent backbencher Iain Duncan Smith he confirms he won't be supporting Theresa May’s deal.

“From what I saw in the last week and a half or two weeks, makes it very difficult for someone like me to support this deal,” said on Ride on Sunday on Sky News.

“It seems to me that far too much has been given to the EU and far too little allies itself with our commitments.”

Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 09:25
Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 09:28


Shehab.Khan25 November 2018 09:32

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