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[Published: Saturday July 07 2018]

 UK PM secures soft Brexit from cabinet

LONDON 7 Jul (ANA - British Prime Minister Theresa May has secured approval from her cabinet to negotiate "a business-friendly" deal to leave the European Union but drew anger from hardline 'Brexiteers' and members of the opposition over her strategy to leave the bloc.
After a marathon 12-hour meeting at her Chequers residence on Friday, the prime minister seemed to have persuaded the most vocal Brexit campaigners in her cabinet to back plans for a new UK-EU agreement.
In a statement released late in the evening, she said the 26 cabinet members in attendance reached a "collective" agreement that would see the UK agree to negotiate a "common rulebook for all goods" in a combined customs territory.
May said her cabinet also agreed to negotiate for regulations for industrial and agri-food goods, ending the free movement of people, the supremacy of the European court and "vast" payments to the bloc.
"This is a proposal that I believe will be good for the UK and good for the EU and I look forward to it being received positively," she told reporters.
However, Tory Brexiteers voiced concern at the agreement, with the chairman of the campaign group 'Leave Means Leave' accusing May of personally deceiving Brexit campaigners.
"May's Brexit means BRINO - 'Brexit In Name Only' - a fake Brexit," John Longworth said.
Meanwhile, pro-EU Labour politician Chuka Umunna described it as "yet another behind-closed-doors stitch up that would leave us all worse off."
The Times newspaper said, without citing sources, that May was taking a hard line and had promised senior allies that she would sack Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, a Brexit supporter, if he tried "to undermine the peace deal".
Al Jazeera's Neave Barker, reporting from Westminster, said it was still up to European leaders whether they would accept the demands.
"It's taken two years to reach this collective position on trade talks and it's still only the start.
"May's proposal will form the backbone of a pre-legal document - a white paper - that may be subject to amendment in parliament before eventually being presented to the EU, which can accept or reject it."
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who previously suggested the EU would be willing to shift its position if the UK relaxed some of its "red lines", welcomed the agreement on Twitter.
"We will assess proposals to see if they are workable and realistic," he said.(ANA)
FA/ANA/7 July 2018------

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