Brussels claimed Theresa May had opened the door to ‘soft Brexit’ tonight as her divorce deal was branded a £40billion (around $50 billion) ‘humiliation’.
After a frantic night of negotiations, a bleary-eyed PM and Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed the ‘breakthrough’ had been achieved at an early morning press conference.
The two sides papered over the cracks four days after the DUP torpedoed an earlier version – with Mrs May soothing the fears of her Northern Ireland allies by explicitly stating that moves to secure a soft Irish border would not threaten the UK.
But Tory MPs voiced alarm that Britain’s effort to solve the Irish border problem by ‘aligning’ with EU rules would prevent it striking trade deals with other countries.
Eurocrats increased the pressure on Mrs May by claiming that the text the UK had agreed was ‘incompatible’ with leaving the European single market and customs union – implying we have accepted a ‘soft Brexit’.
And within hours of the deal being announced European Council chief Donald Tusk was making fresh demands about the next phase of talks. He said during a mooted two-year transition period Britain will have to keep making financial contributions and respect all EU laws, including new ones, even though this country will have no say over how they are decided.
In a scathing assessment, ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: ‘A deal in Brussels is good news for Mrs May as we can now move on to the next stage of humiliation.’