Brexit secretary: Commons vote on May’s deal will be ‘challenging’

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who has admitted it will be a "challenge" to get Theresa May's deal with the EU through...

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who has admitted it will be a "challenge" to get Theresa May's deal with the EU through Parliament as scores of MPs say they will vote against it. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

In an understatement of how tough it will be for Theresa May to get her Brexit deal passed, the Brexit secretary has admitted it will be 'challenging'.

But Stephen Barclay said the prime minister has managed to get the best agreement possible.

After scores of MPs have declared their intention to vote it down, Barclay was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme how the government will get it through Parliament.

Barclay, who only took over the role from Dominic Raab earlier this month, said: 'Well, it's going to be a challenging vote.

'But it's now the job of all of us in cabinet to make the case to our colleagues, make the case to the country.

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'The prime minister, after two years working day and night in the national interest, has secured a deal that respects the referendum result, and does so in a way that also protects jobs, that also gives security to EU citizens.'

He said people needed to know what the choice now facing Britain was, adding: 'The choice is between a deal, or the uncertainty that would flow from what the Chancellor said last week; the choppy waters that we will move in to if this deal does not go through.'

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Speaking on the same programme, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said there will be no more negotiation on the Brexit agreement, insisting: 'This is the best deal for Britain.'

He reiterated his comments from the weekend, saying: 'And this is the only deal possible, so if the House (of Commons) says no, we would have no deal.'

He added: 'It's not the intention of the prime minister, the cabinet, nor of the Parliament to go for a second referendum. This is the deal.'

Ahead of the vote in Parliament, Mrs May has already started a campaign of selling her deal directly to the public, in the hope their support can win round MPs opposed to the plan before the Commons vote, widely expected in the week beginning December 10.

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