LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union agreed a draft text setting out a close post-Brexit relationship, though wrangles over fish and the future of Gibraltar must still be settled before leaders meet on Sunday.
Below are initial reactions from lawmakers who are unhappy with the deal within Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up her minority government:
Former foreign minister Boris Johnson in parliament:
“Nothing in this political declaration changes the hard reality of the withdrawal agreement, that gives the EU a continuing veto over the unilateral power of the entire United Kingdom to do trade deals or take back control of our laws.
“We should junk forthwith the backstop, upon which the future economic partnership… is to be based and which makes a complete nonsense of Brexit.”
Former Brexit minister Dominic Raab in parliament:
“The backstop ties the UK to the customs union and single market rules with no voice and an EU veto over our exit while paragraph 23 of the political declaration makes that the starting point for future relations to build on.
“The top reason people voted to leave the EU was to take back democratic control over our laws. Isn’t it the regrettable but inescapable reality that this deal gives even more away?”
The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said in parliament:
“There are alternative arrangements that can be put in place without the need for the backstop.
“If she wants to have the support of my party for the withdrawal agreement, then we need to see an end of the backstop, and those alternative arrangements put in place.”
Conservative lawmaker Andrea Jenkyns on Twitter:
“The British people are not stupid. There will be a backlash if we deliver a deal such as this.”
Conservative lawmaker Priti Patel:
“Everything the EU wanted from the negotiations has ended up in the Withdrawal Agreement – which is a legally enforceable international treaty.
“That’s why we’re going to stay in the EU customs union, remain subject to judgments of the European Court, imperil our Union and allow the EU to have a veto over when we can leave the backstop.
“Everything the UK wanted has been put in an unenforceable, meaningless declaration. And it’s cost us 39 (billion pounds).
“This is a costly surrender by the UK Government.”
Conservative lawmaker Ranil Jayawardena:
“This isn’t a settlement; it’s a surrender.
“Instead of taking back control, we will be abandoning control over vast swathes of our social and economic policy – and we will be simply unable to agree the trade deals of tomorrow with the rest of the world. This ‘deal’ stops us seizing the benefits of Brexit, whilst shackling us to the worst parts of the EU.”
Conservative lawmaker Marcus Fysh on Twitter:
“The PM’s (Prime Minister’s) proposed Withdrawal Agreement is terminally toxic to our democracy, and her proposals for the future relationship both make the Withdrawal Agreement even more toxic, and are as fanciful as they were at Chequers.”
Conservative lawmaker Sheryll Murray:
“Let’s be clear. This is a betrayal of Brexit.
“In the EU referendum people voted to taken back control of our fish. Yet now the prime minister wants to commit us to stay in the Common Fisheries Policy in all but name. She seeks to enter a new fisheries agreement on access to waters and quota shares.”
Conservative lawmaker Conor Burns on Twitter:
“Sadly the greatest mistake since June 2016 was charging people who didn’t believe in Brexit with delivering Brexit. With great sadness I do not believe what is on offer is reconcilable with what people voted for. This is a bleak day for our country.”
Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison