Brexit gets European Union nod

Brussels: The European Union on Sunday approved the UK’s withdrawal agreement from the EU, its chief official Donald Tusk announced in Belgium leaving it upon the UK Parliament to consent to the deal facilitating Britain’s departure from the union.

The UK Parliament is expected to vote on the deal in early December but its approval is by no means guaranteed, with Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, the DUP and many Conservatives MPs set to vote against.

“EU27 has endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future EU-UK relations,” Tusk broke the news on Twitter.

The 27 leaders gave it their backing after less than an hour’s discussion at the summit here, the BBC reported.

Tusk signalled on Saturday that the deal would be approved after Spain withdrew last-minute concerns over Gibraltar.

It follows more than 18 months of negotiations between the two sides, which began when the UK triggered Article 50 in the wake of the 2016 referendum.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

Prime Minister Theresa May earlier in the day appealed to the public to get behind the agreement, arguing it is the best deal she could have struck and honours the result of the Brexit referendum.