British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a Brexit statement outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, on Nov. 14, 2018. Theresa May announced Wednesday night that the cabinet has given its backing to her Brexit deal. (Xinhua/Stephen Chung)
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday night that the cabinet has given its backing to her Brexit deal.
May delivered her message outside 10 Downing Street after an emergency meeting of her cabinet that overran by more than two hours.
She acknowledged the difficulties facing the government and the country over Brexit, adding: "I firmly believe with my head and my heart that this is a decision that is in the best interests of the whole United Kingdom," she said.
May said the cabinet had had a long, detailed and impassioned debate and the draft withdrawal agreement was the best that could be negotiated with Brussels.
May said she will make a full statement to the House of Commons on Thursday.
Political observers are now waiting to see if any of her dissenting ministers have quit.
The next 24 hours could also determine whether May could face a vote of no confidence among her Conservative ranks in the House of Commons.
Media speculation in London has it that a number of MPs are considering whether to send in letters that would trigger a vote among all of the Conservative MPs.
Just 48 names are needed to start the process, and if a vote does take place it could either secure May's position at Number 10 for at least a year, or see her deposed and replaced.
It would depend on whether she could survive a no-confidence vote and whether she would decide to face a challenge in an election among leadership contenders.
In a commentary on Wednesday, Peter foster, Europe editor of The Daily Telegraph wrote: "Theresa May must come clean: her Brexit deal is a dog's breakfast (but is still the best thing on a desultory menu).
"...The Brexit deal is indeed a bit of a mess, but it does put the UK on a road to an EU exit as mandated; it preserves trade continuity and it respects the Good Friday Agreement."
"There never was a perfect Brexit. It is time Mrs May, however belatedly, owned up to this fact and put these hard choices in front of the electorate. She may fail yet, but spin and half-truths are a guaranteed recipe for disaster," he concluded.