James Forsyth

Emergency brake breakthrough, claims Downing Street

Emergency brake breakthrough, claims Downing Street
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Donald Tusk will not circulate the proposed draft UK/EU deal tomorrow. It had been thought that Tusk would put out a draft on Monday after final talks over supper with Cameron this evening. Instead, there will be further meetings between UK and EU diplomats, before Tusk decides whether or not to circulate a draft text to the other member states on Tuesday.

In a statement tonight, Downing Street has said that the European Commission accepts that the current UK immigration situation would trigger the so-called emergency brake on benefits for EU migrants. Cameron’s press team are stressing that this means that the Tory manifesto commitment to bar EU migrants from receiving in work benefits until they have been here for four years will be delivered. But it is worth remembering that any other EU country can veto this proposed deal at the February European Council.

The issues that need to be resolved before a draft text is circulated are, according to Number 10, the rules governing relations between the Eurozone Ins and Out, something which was always going to be highly technical and problematic, and whether the spouses of EU citizens should automatically be entitled to free movement rights.

It seems that Number 10 is more confident that these issues can be resolved in the next twenty four hours than Tusk’s team is. But if there is a draft circulated on Tuesday, then the government’s plan to strike a deal at the European Council in February and then hold a referendum in June will still be on track.