The usual Brexit suspects have prominently renounced Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal before the details have been released.
Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage have criticised the deal at the head of a band of Tory rebels.
They brand the deal as ‘unacceptable’ as the terms would make Britain a ‘vassal state under the yolk of European Union control’.
The prime minister’s furious opponents are demanding her Cabinet should reject the plan.
The real deal remains under wraps – all 600 pages. Some speculation has emerged over the contents without any confirmation from Whitehall or Brussels.
The main crunch point is the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tore into May at Prime Minister’s Questions even though he has not seen a draft of the agreement.
He said the deal was botched and a failure.
May told MPs she had negotiated a good deal that delivers on the Brexit referendum and “takes back control of our money, law and borders”.
She added that the agreement would protect business and jobs, too.
The draft Brexit proposal is on a desk in a private reading room within 10 Downing Street where ministers can access the terms.
The main sticking point is the ‘backstop’ customs deal for Northern Ireland. Apparently, the terms will align the UK with EU customs rules if a trade deal is not negotiated within agreed time limits.
The backstop will not come into force if the trade deal is signed off.
But MPs fear despite leaving the EU, the backstop could lock the UK into the customs union for years to come – but that would only happen if no trade deal was agreed.
Under the deal, Britain will pay a one-off £39 billion Brexit bill to cover agreed spending under the EU budget.
If the Cabinet signs off the draft, the EU will publish the document almost immediately to allow leaders of the remaining 27 states to discuss the agreement at a summit before Christmas – with November 25 pencilled in as the key date.
The agreement will then go before MPs around December 7.
If the summit or Westminster fail to back the agreement, it’s back to the drawing board for more talks or a no deal Brexit in March 2019.