Brexit: Britain and European Union reach agreement on divorce draft deal

The pound rose higher following the announcement, gaining 1% against the US dollar and 0.5% against the Euro compared to Monday night.

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After months of tough negotiations, Britain has put together a draft Brexit divorce deal with the European Union (EU), Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Tuesday.

Ministers were said to be briefed one-by-one about the deal’s outline, news reports said, before the special cabinet meeting to sign off the draft text – which is hundreds of pages long - takes place.

The pound rose higher following the announcement, gaining 1% against the United States (US) dollar and 0.5% against the Euro compared to Monday night.

France’s European Minister Nathalie Loiseau wrote on Twitter that the EU has the intention to “look very carefully at the draft agreement.” “We want a good text that scrupulously respects the interests of the EU,” she wrote.

There are hopes from London (if British ministers back the text) for the EU to call on a summit by this month so that the bloc's leaders can give their approval.

Mixed views

The British Cabinet will be meeting at 1400 GMT on Wednesday to discuss about the draft agreement, according to leaked details from British and Irish media.

The deal would help to maintain the trade arrangement between the EU and Britain but some analysts are concerned that the Brexit could create a divided West, causing further disparity as seen from US Donald Trump’s exclusionary policies.

Supporters of Brexit view that the divorce may bring some short-term uncertainty to United Kingdom but there is potential for the country to thrive in the long-term, as it collaborates with other European countries as an own entity.

It is up to the parliament to make the choice on getting the deal approved. A total of 320 votes from lawmakers are required, which is almost half of the 650-seat parliament.

Irish borders

Discussions were said to have been caught in a fix around avoiding border checks between British Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit.

The EU has been pushing for Northern Ireland to remain in the single market while UK has been calling for a wider trade deal – one which will have Britain temporarily staying aligned with EU’s trade deals and exiting the arrangement when it wishes to.

The discussion has drawn some heat and debate, with even some in Scotland asking to strike a deal for themselves. SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford spoke on BBC TV on Wednesday morning, insisting on a separate deal for Scotland if Northern Ireland gets one as well.

“As far as we understand things this morning, it looks as if it’s going to be a different deal for Northern Ireland. Now if it is permissible for Northern Ireland to stay in the single market as part of the backstop, then of course Scotland should be given the same opportunity,” he said.

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