Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the cabinet has supported a draft withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU.

The prime minister explained it was a “decisive step” in the advancement of Brexit, and would allow the agreement, which has been published by the EU, to be finalised in the coming days.

The Prime Minister’s office’s summary of the agreement is below:

  • Protects the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in the UK and around one million UK nationals living in the EU.
  • A time-limited implementation period, allowing businesses to continue trading as now until the end of 2020.
  • A fair financial settlement for UK taxpayers estimated to be between £35-39bn, resolving our obligations.
  • A mechanism for resolving any disputes between the UK and the EU. First, disputes will be consulted on in a joint committee and, if no mutually agreed solution can be found, it will be resolved by an independent arbitration panel.
  • Ending free movement and introducing our new skills-based immigration system.
  • Visa-free travel for tourism and temporary business activity, to ensure businesses can continue to provide services and move their talented people.
  • A free trade area and deep co-operation on goods, with zero tariffs and quotas.
  • The ability to strike trade deals around the world.
  • Provisions to ensure open and fair competition, in line with the overall economic relationship with commitments by both the UK and the EU on state aid, employment and environmental standards, and relevant tax matters.

There is no confirmation on whether the U.K. will remain in a customs partnership with the EU post Brexit.

Guy Verhofstadt, MEP said the agreement “will make a Brexit possible, while maintaining a close relationship between the EU and UK, a protection of citizens' rights and the avoidance of a hard Irish border”.

The prime minister now must tackle getting the finished deal through Parliament.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which plays a key role in giving the government the support it needs to win crucial votes, has joined opposition parties in criticising the anticipated arrangements.

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