The European Council President said Brussels was best prepared for “no Brexit” minutes after Ester McVey became the second Cabinet minister to resign in a protest against the draft withdrawal agreement agreed between the Prime Minister and EU. Mr Tusk refused to be drawn into speculation but said the EU are making sufficient preparations for no deal Brexit as Mrs May struggles to convince Brexiteers to support her divorce deal. He said: “It is not for me to comment on the latest developments in London, the EU is prepared for a final deal with the United Kingdom.
“We are also prepared for a no deal scenario – but of course we are best prepared for a no Brexit scenario.”
Hours before his shock statement, Mr Tusk welcomed the “decisive progress” made after UK and EU negotiators finally published the 585-page draft withdrawal agreement.
In turn, the European Council President ramped up preparations to host a special Brexit summit on November 25, where EU leaders will give their own approval for the final document.
He told the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: “If I weren’t confident that you did your best to protect the interests of the 27, and I am familiar with the essence of the document, I would not propose to formalise this deal.”
Mr Tusk insisted if “nothing extraordinary happens” during preparations between EU ambassadors, ministers and prime ministers’ aides the summit will go ahead on November 25.
He added: “As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, both for you and for us.”
Mr Barnier warned reporters that the hard work isn’t over despite the UK and EU’s 17-month negotiations finally producing a draft withdrawal agreement.
He said: “Our work is not finished.
“We still have a long road, a long road, ahead of us on both sides.”
Once the withdrawal deal is signed off by EU leaders work can begin building the future partnership package, which Mr Barnier insists “will be intense”.
The positivity of Mr Barnier has failed to rub off on angry revolting Brexiteer MPs mounting challenges on Mrs May’s authority in Westminster.
The Prime Minister lost two Cabinet ministers this morning, including Mr Raab, who placed his departure’s blame on the divorce deal she had agreed with Brussels.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey also handed in her resignation letter an hour later, creating a crisis that some believe may topple the Prime Minister.
Junior Brexit minister Suella Braverman and Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara also quit their positions citing their lack of support for the deal.
Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has submit a letter of no confidence in Mrs May and believes that the threshold of 48 letters to trigger a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister will be met.