UK Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to fight for her draft Brexit deal with the European Union after the resignation of her Brexit secretary and other ministers threatened her exit strategy and her job.
At a press conference in London on Thursday, May underlined her determination to stay the course amid the chances of impeachment from opposition lawmakers.
A draft Brexit deal was agreed on Tuesday between London and Brussels after a year and a half of negotiations aimed at unwinding nearly 46 years of British membership in the EU.
Just over 12 hours after May announced that her cabinet had agreed to the terms of the deal, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and work and pensions minister Esther McVey resigned.
"I believe that this is a deal which does deliver that which is in the national interest," May said.
The prime minister said that she "put the national interest first" and added that she doesn't "judge harshly those of my colleagues who seek to do the same but who reach a different conclusion," expressing her regret over the resignations of her ministers.
She went on by stating the benefits of the Brexit agreement and by admitting that the most "tough decision" was the backstop on Ireland.
May noted that "nobody has produced any alternative proposal which both delivers on the referendum and also ensures that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland."
May pointed out that some lawmakers within the House of Commons had suggested staying within the EU; however, the "British people" had voted to leave it, and it was the duty of parliamentarians "to deliver on that vote."
EU President Donald Tusk has said that Brussels is prepared for Britain to cancel Brexit, describing the deal as a “lose-lose” situation both for the UK and the EU bloc.
Tusk said on Thursday morning that Brexit talks were all about “damage control”. He noted, however, that a “no-Brexit scenario” was also possible.
Speaking later in the day, he told reporters in Brussels: “The EU is prepared for a final deal with the United Kingdom in November. “We are also prepared for a no-deal scenario but of course we are best prepared for a no-Brexit scenario.”
A main sticking point in the Brexit talks had been the post-Brexit situation of the Irish border.
Irish media said on Tuesday that British and EU negotiators had agreed on how to avoid a return of border checks between EU state of Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland once Britain leaves the EU in March.