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As it happenedended1512755053

Brexit deal - as it happened: Theresa May's late-night scramble to seal a deal as EU finally gives green light for future trade talks

Tom Embury-Dennis,Lizzy Buchan
Friday 08 December 2017 08:51 GMT
Brexit: Theresa May agrees breakthrough Irish border deal with EU leaders

After late night phone-calls and a very early morning flight to Brussels, Theresa May and the EU announced a breakthrough deal which will allow Brexit negotiations to progress to the next stage.

Here is how the day unfolded.

In dramatic early-morning scenes, the Prime Minister flew to Brussels to stage a joint press conference with Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commission president, following lengthy negotiations with her allies in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

The leaders declared that "sufficient progress" had been made on the "divorce issues" to begin the negotiations on their future trading relationship. The decision must be approved by the other 27 EU leaders at a summit on Thursday.

Key details emerged throughout the day including the detail on Britain's divorce bill - which will be between £35bn and 39bn rather than the anticipated £50bn - and the fact that people living in Northern Ireland will be able to retain their EU citizenship.

Leading Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and David Davis gave their backing to the Prime Minister but she still faces significant a challenge to convince members of her own party over the deal, as she had to make concessions on controversial issues such as the European Court of Justice.

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Theresa May and the EU have announced that a breakthrough deal has finally been reached to move the Brexit talks onto future trade with the EU, after days of tortuous negotiations.

The Prime Minister arrived in Brussels before 6am on Friday, to stage a joint press conference with EU leaders – following discussions with the Democratic Unionist Party that stretched long into the night.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 07:22
Adam Withnall8 December 2017 07:23

Theresa May has promised there will be no barriers between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and there will be "full alignment" between the two. 

Simon Coveney, Ireland's deputy PM, has said:"This morning is one of those moments when hopefully everybody in the country can breath a sigh of relief."

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 07:36

Jean-Claude Juncker's chief of staff Martin Selmayr tweeted a puff of white smoke earlier this morning, in a nod to the fact there had been an agreement, Vatican-style.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 07:40

Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesperson for the European Commission, shared some photos of Theresa May's working breakfast with Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. 

Mr Juncker soon confirmed that the commission would recommend negotiations proceed to phase two.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 07:44

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, has just spoken to confirm he has received the recommendation for talks to move on. 

He says negotiations should now move onto the transition period and that the UK has asked that it lasts two years. 

In return, the UK will need to respect EU laws, including any new ones introduced during the transition stage.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 07:48

Here's the key paragraph that may have convinced the DUP to back the deal after refusing to accept there would be "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and Ireland:

"In the absence of agreed solutions, as set out in the previous paragraph, the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unless, consistent with the 1998 Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree that distinct arrangements are appropriate for Northern Ireland."

Instead, "regulatory alignment" has been replaced by "no new regulatory barriers". 

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 07:54

The DUP has warned this morning there is more work to do to establish how Irish border arrangements will look after Brexit. But it has set out six points claims to have achieved in the negotiations.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 08:00

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 08:00

It's fair to say Leave.EU, an unofficial campaigning organisation for Brexit, is not exactly happy over the agreement.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 08:05

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