Late last Thursday night, Theresa May flew to Brussels to meet with the European Commission to try to secure a deal for the UK to move on to the next stage of negotiating: the crucial trade, crime and security talks.
With most of the British public oblivious and sleeping early Friday morning, the ‘breaking news’ strip flashed on the television bearing the headline that Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker had secured a deal overnight on the first phase of Brexit talks. Speaking to the British and European press, she cited that Britain had secured the deal of no hard border in Ireland, and EU citizens living in Britain would retain their rights.
The other thing confirmed was the highly controversial divorce bill settlement – estimated to be around £40 billion. This is an obscene amount of money to pay, but it secured the long-anticipated deal.
We have moved on from Theresa May’s mantra of ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ and it seems that repeated slogan has gone away. But the PM seems more confident than ever that the UK will get the best deal possible, even if the DUP withholds certain aspects of the deal.
She has said all along that though she wanted peace to remain on the Irish border, she clearly does not want to give other concessions to the rest of the UK. Some would argue though, that for instance, if Scotland wants to remain in the single market and customs union, then they should have another referendum before the time that we leave the EU. This is a potential future spanner in the works for Mrs May.
The Prime Minister has moved on from repeated calls by Labour and other opposition parties that we should remain in the single market and customs union. Indeed, remaining in the single market is no longer a feasible option. May will not listen to the likes of Corbyn and Sturgeon, as she wants the whole country to leave the EU united as one and not dither.
May is determined to give the British people the best outcomes. Brexit presents an opportunity for the PM to seek new international trade deals, better infrastructure and more jobs, especially for businesses in London.
The Prime Minister’s position is much stronger now that a deal has been secured, and there is fresh hope for the next phase of talks, possibly starting next week following on from the EU summit.