British Prime Minister Theresa May has warned there are "difficult days ahead" as her cabinet approved a draft withdrawal agreement on Britain's exit from the European Union.

Mrs May announced she will outline the deal to MPs in the House of Commons today, but what will happen next?

Statements

Ahead of Mrs May's address to the House of Commons, European Council president Donald Tusk confirmed a date this morning for the next European Council summit, on 25 November.

Before the November summit date, an agreement will also have to be reached on the political declaration, published yesterday, on future relations - which is currently an outline and due to become a full future framework.

Brussels summit

With the British cabinet giving the green light to Britain's Brexit blueprint, it clears the way for the special Brexit summit in Brussels for EU leaders to approve the deal later this month.

Leaders of the remaining 27 EU states will be asked to put their stamp on the document, and the agreement will then be sent for ratification to both the Westminster Parliament and the European Parliament.

Parliament

The British government would hope to stage a vote in the House of Commons before Christmas, and if every obstacle is cleared, the deal would come into effect in time for the UK's departure on 29 March 2019.

It is expected that the debate will stretch over several days and will end in a meaningful vote, possibly in early December, before the next scheduled European Council summit on 13 December.

Transition

Following Brexit on 29 March next year, there will be a transition period in place until 31 December 2020 to allow time to form a deal on the UK's future relationship with the EU.

If this is not possible by the end of that date, the UK and EU could jointly agree to extend the transition period, but Mr Barnier said yesterday they "haven't fleshed out" how that could be done.

Alternatively, a temporary backstop arrangement could also be put in place from January 2021, establishing a single EU-UK customs territory until a new trade deal is implemented - covering all goods except fishery and aquaculture products.


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