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Brexit: Michael Gove says UK voters can change final deal

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Michael Gove says ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’

Voters can use the next general election to have their say on a final Brexit deal, Michael Gove has said.

The environment secretary praised Theresa May’s “tenacity and skill” in securing a last-minute deal to end phase one negotiations on Friday.

But, writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said if British people “dislike the arrangement”, they can change it.

Reports suggest the cabinet will meet on 19 December to discuss its “end state” plans for Brexit.

Mr Gove said the primary agreement between the two sides had “set the scene for phase two” negotiations – where issues such as trade will be discussed.

But he said that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” at the end of the process, and the British people will then “be in control” to make the government change direction if they are unhappy.

“By the time of the next election, EU law and any new treaty with the EU will cease to have primacy or direct effect in UK law,” said Mr Gove.

“If the British people dislike the arrangement that we have negotiated with the EU, the agreement will allow a future government to diverge.”


Friday’s deal between Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker agreed on three key aspects.

There will be no “hard border” with the Irish Republic, the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be protected, and the so-called “divorce bill” will amount to between £35bn and £39bn, Downing Street sources say.

Mr Junker said it was a “breakthrough” and he was confident EU leaders will approve it at a European Council summit next week.

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Theresa May and Jean-Claude Junker agreed a deal early on Friday

Talks can then move onto a transition deal to cover a period of up to two years after Brexit and the “framework for the future relationship” – preliminary discussions about a future trade deal.

However, the EU says a deal can only be finalised once the UK has left the EU.

A final withdrawal treaty and transition deal will have to be ratified by the EU nations and the UK Parliament, before the UK leaves in March 2019.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, whose opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down, said there was still “more work to be done” on the border issue and how it votes on the final deal “will depend on its contents”.

What has been agreed?

  • Guarantee that there will be “no hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic and that the “constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom” will be maintained.
  • EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa will have their rights to live, work and study protected. The agreement includes reunification rights for relatives who do not live in the UK to join them in their host country in the future
  • Financial settlement – No specific figure is in the document but Downing Street says it will be between £35bn and £39bn, including budget contributions during a two-year “transition” period after March 2019

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