LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has an intense week of Brexit negotiations ahead in which it expects to finalise the details of its outline future relationship with the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Monday.
May has had a tumultuous few days since unveiling a draft divorce deal with the European Union on Wednesday last week, with several ministers, including her Brexit minister, resigning and some of her own members of parliament seeking to oust her.
The British leader has vowed to fight on, on Sunday warning that toppling her risked delaying Britain’s EU exit, and has said the future partnership agreement will help ensure the government delivers on the 2016 Brexit vote.
The EU is due to hold a summit to discuss the deal on Nov. 25.
“We now have an intense week of negotiations ahead of us in the run-up to the special European Council on Sunday,” May will say in a speech to the CBI business lobby group’s annual conference on Monday, according to advance extracts.
“During that time I expect us to hammer out the full and final details of the framework that will underpin our future relationship and I am confident that we can strike a deal at the council that I can take back to the House of Commons.”
May will say the withdrawal agreement set out last week, which has been strongly criticised by lawmakers on both sides of the EU debate, is a good deal for Britain.
Speaking at the same conference, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will describe the deal as “a botched, worst-of-all-worlds deal which is bad for Britain, leaving the country in an indefinite halfway house without a real say”.
Corbyn, who has said his party will not support May’s deal when parliament is asked to vote on it, will say Labour’s plan for Brexit would include a new comprehensive and permanent customs union, and a “strong single market relationship”.
“The government is trying to force a bad deal that doesn’t meet our country’s needs by threatening us all with the chaos and serious damage to our economy of a no deal outcome,” he will say. “The Prime Minister knows that no deal isn’t a real option. Neither the cabinet nor parliament would endorse such an extreme and dangerous course.”
May will also say that the deal will allow Britain to control immigration, concerns over which were a key driver behind the Brexit vote.
“It will no longer be the case that EU nationals, regardless of the skills or experience they have to offer, can jump the queue ahead of engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi,” she will say.
“We want an immigration system for the future that everyone can have confidence in. Yes, a system that works for business. One that allows us to attract the brightest and the best from around the world, more streamlined application and entry processes.”
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by David Evans)