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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Theresa May agrees draft Brexit declaration with European Union

The agreement will be sent for approval by the EU's 27 leaders on Sunday

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside 10 Downing Street. AP
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement outside 10 Downing Street. AP

British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a swift resolution to the country’s turmoil over Brexit as she announced the details of an agreement with Brussels on a draft political declaration on a future relationship with the EU.

The prime minister announced on Thursday that the declaration- a 26-page document outlining how trade, security and other issues will work had been agreed in principle. British officials have sought close future ties after Brexit while still ensuring that the UK could make new trade deals with other countries.

The agreement still needs approval by leaders of the European Union, at an emergency summit which will take place on Sunday.

The British pound strengthened on the news of the agreement to $1.29, regaining some of the loss following a plunge last week.

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"The negotiations are now at a critical moment and all our efforts must be focused on working with our European partners to bring this process to a final conclusion in the interests of all our people," Mrs May said.

"The British people want this to be settled, they want a good deal that sets us on course for a brighter future.

"That deal is within our grasp and I am determined to deliver it."

But leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn said agreement amounted to “26 pages of waffle” and was the “blindfold Brexit we all feared”. He said none of his party’s six tests for the Brexit negotiations had been met.

The political declaration is not legally binding and sets out both sides’ aspirations for what a future relationship will look like rather than a conclusive trade deal.

Both sides need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world’s biggest trading bloc and the fifth largest national economy.

The declaration is separate to the draft withdrawal text announced last week, which covered the divorce bill, the rights of EU citizens and the issue of the Irish border.

Seven members of Mrs May's government resigned in protest of the bill, most notably chief Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab. Conservative rebels have vowed to defeat the prime minister while the Northern Ireland DUP, which props up her minority government, has threatened to break its deal with the prime minister.

The bill is due to be voted on in parliament in December with opposition from proponents of remaining and leaving alike voicing their opposition.