UK: Brexit scramble as May heads to Brussels
Theresa May dashes off to Brussels later for a meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. For a Kodak moment, as BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg puts it. So what’s really going on?
On the face of it, the two sides are scrambling to iron out the final kinks in the draft Brexit agreement. And indeed, stumbling blocks do remain over issues like Gibraltar and fishing. Some of those unhappy in Westminster also still believe there’s room to make changes to the agreement – particularly the controversial customs “backstop”.
In reality though, as Laura Kuenssberg explains, the prime minister has been pretty clear the agreement is essentially ready to be signed off. But creating the sense that even tiny tweaks could be on the table has made it possible for some of her unhappy ministers to stay on.
Our Europe editor Katya Adler agrees. No-one, she says, seriously thinks any EU country will refuse to sign up to the Brexit deal this weekend. But appearing to engage in last-minute fisticuffs with Mrs May will allow her to claim the final text was hard fought and hard won… in the fervent hope that will soften the stance of some of her many critics at home.
Those critics, led by Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, admitted on Tuesday that plans for a vote of no confidence in the PM had stalled.