U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May won the support European leaders for her Brexit plan this weekend, a crucial milestone in Britain’s path to leave the EU in March of next year, but faces a far more daunting task in selling that agreement to lawmakers back home.
European leaders were unanimously in support of May’s proposed withdraw agreement Sunday, following months of torturous negotiations between London and Brussels that both defined the terms upon which Britain will leave the bloc next year and set out the framework for future trade talks that could take years to finalize. However, despite May’s insistence — echoed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker — that this was the “best and only” offer on the table, the chances of it being ratified in parliament early next month are extremely low, and its failure could trigger either a leadership challenge or the collapse of her coalition government.
“This has been a long and complex negotiation. It has required give and take on both sides. That is the nature of a negotiation,” May is expected to tell lawmakers in a statement later Monday. “And I can say to the House (of Commons) with absolute certainty that there is not a better deal available.”
“There is a choice which MPs will have to make,” she will say, calling for them to back the deal and allow Britain to “move on,” text of her statement read. “Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one. It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail.”
The pound was little-changed from its Friday levels against the U.S. dollar, despite May’s breakthrough, and was marked at 1.2841 in early London trading, suggesting investors are taking a cautious approach to the parliamentary debate, which could culminate with a Commons vote on either December 10 or December 12.