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European Union leaders back Brexit deal as May pleads for public support

European Union leaders back Brexit deal as May pleads for public support

‘I will make the case for this deal with all my heart’: May launches desperate fight to get her Brexit plan through the Commons after Juncker warns rebel MPs ‘this is the only deal possible’

Theresa May Letter

  • EU Leaders gathered in Brussels today for an historic summit to seal the first ever exit of an EU member state  
  • National leaders endorsed the Brexit divorce deal and outline trade deal plan in a brief 40 minute meeting 
  • EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the package was the ‘only deal possible’ for Britain 
  • Council chief Donald Tusk said Britain and the EU would be ‘friends until the end of days – and one day longer’  
  • Theresa May has hailed the package as the right deal for the United Kingdom but must now fight for it to pass 
  • The Prime Minister has vowed the deal offers a ‘brighter future’ for Brexit Britain but faces humiliating defeat
  • More than 90 Tory MPs have declared opposition to the deal with the DUP and Labour Party all set to vote No   
  • DUP leader Arlene Foster hinted today her party could support a ‘plan B’ Brexit that is a softer deal for the UK 
  • Meanwhile Tony Blair intervened to say the deal is so widely hated it fuels demands for a new public vote

Theresa May promised the country she will fight 'with all my heart' to get her divorce through the Commons as she held a press conference to close a landmark day in Brussels (pictured) 

The 27 European Union leaders have endorsed the Brexit deal, European Council president Donald Tusk said.

The announcement that the remaining 27 EU leaders had backed the plan came in a tweet from European Council president Donald Tusk barely 40 minutes after the meeting started.

Following the announcement Theresa May asked MPs in Westminster to back the deal or risk “more division and uncertainty”.

Speaking at a news conference she called on them to “move forward together into a brighter future”.

Prior to leaving for the summit the Prime Minister penned a “letter to the nation” pleading for the public to back her deal amid growing opposition in Parliament.

EU leaders marked the moment with a tinge of sadness.

Jean-Claude Juncker (left at a press conference with Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier today) warned MPs the Brexit divorce is the 'only deal possible' today as Brussels signed off on the plans at an historic summit

The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said “divorce is a tragic moment.”

He added: “There is, between us, something which has the remainings of love.”

In a show of friendship, European Council president Donald Tusk said: “Regardless of how it will all end, we will remain friends until the end of days and one day longer.”

Ahead of the summit however, European Commission president Mr Juncker warned Britain cannot expect to get a better Brexit deal if Parliament rejects the agreement hammered out by Theresa May.

EU Council President Donald Tusk confirmed the 27 national leaders had adopted both the divorce treaty and a political declaration on the future relationship in a Tweet (pictured) 

He told reporters: “This is the deal. It’s the best deal possible and the EU will not change its fundamental position when it comes to these issues,” he said.

Mr Juncker’s comments were echoed Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte who urged MPs to give their approval in next month’s expected “meaningful vote” in the House of Commons.

“This is the deal on the table. I don’t think there is anything more now. I don’t want to contemplate a no vote. I think there will be a yes vote,” he said.

“I think this is the best we can all do – both Theresa May and her Government as well as the European Union.

“I do think she has everything now to argue for a yes vote in the British Parliament.”

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the deal was a “necessary step” to prepare for the next phase of negotiations which the Government hopes will result in a wide-ranging free trade agreement.

Theresa May sat alongside Donald Tusk at today's historic summit (pictured) to finalise the terms of Britain's divorce ahead of the crucial Commons vote 

“Now it is time for everybody to take their responsibility. This deal is a necessary step to build the trust between the UK and the EU we need to build,” Mr Barnier said.

“The next phase is an unprecedented and ambitious partnership. We will remain allies, partners and friends.”

The almost 800-word message is an attempt to speak directly to the public to build support for her deal, which faces widespread opposition.

Westminster including from both wings of her Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party which props up her administration.

She said the deal “will honour the result of the referendum” by allowing the UK to “take back control” of its money, laws and borders.

“It is a deal for a brighter future, which enables us to seize the opportunities that lie ahead,” she said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured today in  Brussels) was among the EU leaders who voted for the Brexit deal today 

She promised she would be “campaigning with my heart and soul” to win the vote in the Commons.

And “with Brexit settled” the UK will be able to focus on the economy, NHS, building homes and tackling the “burning injustices” in society, the Prime Minister added.

The summit in Brussels is only taking place after Spain claimed the UK and EU had given into its demands for concessions over the future of Gibraltar.

The Commons vote is the major hurdle Mrs May must now overcome if her hard-won deal is to be enshrined in UK law.

The vote is expected to take place before MPs break for Christmas in December.

Prime Minister pleads for people to back her Brexit in heartfelt letter

However, the DUP, Labour, SNP and the Liberal Democrats have said they will vote against it in December.

If the withdrawal agreement is rejected by MPs it could mean a general election or the UK leaving with no deal unless Mrs May attempts to renegotiates another deal.

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