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UK PM secures cabinet backing for 'soft Brexit'

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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 agro-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.

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".

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.

The Daily Star


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