Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, has rolled the dice on an epic Brexit gamble as she presented a draft deal to the principal members of her cabinet.
She invited leading ministers into Downing Street for one-to-one briefings regarding an agreement that was struck with negotiators from Brussels.
The full cabinet is scheduled to meet at 2 pm on Wednesday to sign off the deal. It will then be sent back to Brussels for the consideration of the leaders of the European Union next week.
However, as the ministers including Chris Grayling, Andrea Leadsom, and Liam Fox were pouring over the text in Downing Street last night, there were some dramatic scenes in Parliament as some Tory Brexiteers and the DUP started a frantic operation to shoot down the deal.
According to RTE, an Irish broadcaster, the draft agreement would see the whole United Kingdom enter into a temporary customs arrangement with the bloc, in the event that the Irish border issue is considered to be unresolved by the end of a 20-month transition period.
Northern Ireland will also follow some certain regulations of Brussels to ensure friction-free trade with the bloc.
Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, claimed that if the leaked reports regarding the deal were true, “this is just about as bad as it could possibly be.”
He continued: “We are going to stay in the customs union on this deal, we are going to stay effectively in large parts of the single market, and that is vassal state stuff.”
He added: “For the first time in a thousand years, this place, this Parliament will not have a say over the laws that govern this country.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a fellow Brexiter, also piled in on the Prime Minister, stating: “She hasn’t so much struck a deal as surrendered to Brussels and given in to them on everything that they want and tried to frustrate Brexit.”
He added: “It is not so much the vassal state anymore as the slave state.”
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, described the presentation of the draft agreement as “the moment of truth.”
He stated: “Cabinet and all Conservative MPs should stand up, be counted and say no to this capitulation.”
Despite the suggestions that members of the cabinet could be stepping down over the deal, the top team of May has so far held together.
Iain Duncan Smith, a former Conservative leader, recalled an old quote from Margaret Thatcher for members of the cabinet who are declining to resign over the deal saying: “Your spine does not yet meet your brain.”
Even if PM May is able to get the deal agreed by her cabinet, she will still face an almighty challenge to get it through Parliament.
The deputy leader of the DUP, Nigel Dodds, was scathing about the draft text. The DUP props up the Conservative government thanks to its 10 MPs.
He warned that it would be leaving Northern Ireland “subject to the rules and laws set in Brussels with no democratic input or any say.”
Dodds said that he would wait to see the actual document prior to reaching a firm stand regarding the matter, however, he warned that “it’s going to be a very, very hard sell I would have thought.”
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, indicated that he would be instructing his MPs to vote against the deal when it comes before parliament. He stated: “We will look at the details of what has been agreed when they are available. But from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country.”
Once the cabinet backs the deal at the emergency meeting, the diplomats of the EU who are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Wednesday could set the wheels in motion for a special summit to be held before the end of this month where European leaders will sign off the said agreement.