PMQs: Theresa May told Brexit deal will cost support of MPs

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Theresa May has said a draft Brexit withdrawal agreement brings the UK "significantly closer" to delivering the result of the referendum and urged her cabinet to back it.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions ahead of a crucial meeting with ministers on Wednesday afternoon, Mrs May said the deal was “in the national interest”.

"We will take back control of our borders, our laws and our money, leave the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy while protecting jobs, security and the integrity of our United Kingdom,” she said at PMQs.

But there were signs of significant unrest among her own MPs, with the Conservative backbencher Peter Bone telling her: “If media reports about the EU agreement are in any way accurate, you are not delivering the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters.”

READ MORE: Theresa May braced for Cabinet revolt over Brexit deal
There was anger among Brexiteers following the publication of a leaked briefing note from the deputy EU negotiator Sabine Weyand, which claimed the draft deal will mean the UK aligns its rules with Europe, while the EU "will retain all the controls".

The leaked note suggested Ms Weyand told ambassadors the UK "would have to swallow a link between access to products and fisheries in future agreements" and it also indicated that close customs alignment should remain indefinitely.

Around 35 members of the pro-hard Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs met at Westminster on Tuesday night, and were addressed by the group’s leader Jacob Rees-Mogg.

An ERG source told journalists its members were resolutely opposed to the deal, and one was quoted saying: “This is war”.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: "This isn't Brexit, it's not even close to Brexit. If it were darts, it's not missing the board, this is not even the right wall."

In an apparent response to Ms Weyand's comments, the Prime Minister told MPs: "I am aware of the concerns that there are, that we don't want to be in a position where the European Union would find it comfortable to keep the UK in the backstop permanently.

"That's why any backstop has to be temporary."

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mrs May said: "The Cabinet will decide on the next steps in the national interest.

"I am confident that this takes us significantly closer to delivering what the British people voted for in the referendum.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned Britain will be left in an "indefinite halfway house" by the proposed withdrawal deal.

Mr Corbyn hit out at two years of "bungled" negotiations by the Government and described the draft agreement as a "failure in its own terms", claiming it would not deliver a Brexit for the whole country and breaches the Prime Minister's red lines.

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He also pressed Mrs May to confirm if it would be the "sovereign right" of the UK Parliament to unilaterally withdraw from an Irish border backstop arrangement, a point the PM did not answer directly in her reply.

"This Government has spent two years negotiating a bad deal that will leave the country in an indefinite halfway house without a real say, yet they think they can impose a false choice on Parliament between a half-baked deal and no deal when a sensible alternative plan could bring together Parliament and the country,” the Labour leader said.

"Even Conservative MPs say the Prime Minister is offering a choice between the worst of all worlds and a catastrophic series of consequences.

"When will the Prime Minister recognise that neither of these options is acceptable?"