After months of often fraught, and sometimes quite contentious negotiations, the two teams charged with reaching an agreement the UK’s relationship with the EU following the United Kingdom’s Brexit next March have reached a consensus on the text of a draft withdrawal agreement, according to a UK source.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to speak with her key Brexit ministers as well as her cabinet, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, and Chief Whip Julian Smith on the afternoon of November 14.
The European Union’s ambassadors are also expected to meet on Wednesday, according to an EU source. Both sides have declined about the details of the next step in the process, with Downing street confirming that the ministers were being called to a special meeting to consider the draft agreement.
May was quick to throw caution into the wind and warned that considerable unresolved issues with the European Union over Brexit still remain and that both sides should not get ahead of themselves, but conceded that the two sides are approaching in the latter stages of the negotiations.
“The negotiations for our departure are now in the endgame,” May said in a speech at the Guildhall in London’s financial district. “We are working extremely hard, through the night, to make progress on the remaining issues in the Withdrawal Agreement, which is significant.”
The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU in early spring of next year and talks have stalled over a disagreement on the so-called “Northern Irish backstop”, which is an insurance policy designed to ensure that a hard border will return between Ireland, a member of the EU, and the UK’s Northern Ireland.
May’s staunchest political opponents have demanded a “meaningful” parliamentary vote on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, once the British government agrees with the draft text.