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A deal has finally been struck amongst EU leaders in an agreement hailed by David Cameron as giving 'special status' to Britain.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, the Prime Minister said:
'Within the last hour I have negotiated a deal to give the United Kingdom special status inside the European Union. I will fly back to London tonight and update the cabinet at 10am tomorrow morning. This deal has delivered on the commitments I made at the beginning of this negotiation process. Britain will be permanently out of ever-closer union, never part of a European superstate. There will be tough new restrictions on access to our welfare system for EU migrants - no more something for nothing. Britain will never join the Euro...I believe this is enough for me to recommend the United Kingdom remain in the European Union.
The Prime Minister went on to say the deal gave Britain the 'best of both worlds' for the UK. He said:
'We will be in the parts of Europe that work for us, influencing the decisions that affect us. And we will be out of the parts of Europe that don't work for us, out of the open borders, out of the bailouts.
'I began this negotiation to address the concerns of the British people...We have permanently protected the Pound. We have ensured British taxpayers will never be made to bail out the Eurozone.'
The agreement includes:
- An emergency brake on migrant benefits which will extend for seven years.
- Assurance that references to an 'ever-closer union' will also not be applied to the UK in the event of a future treaty change.
The news emerged an hour before the PM took to the stage at a press conference in Brussels. In his tweet revealing that a deal had been struck, Donald Tusk wrote:
Deal. Unanimous support for new settlement for #UKinEU
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) February 19, 2016
The Prime Minister may have done his best to talk up the deal secured in Brussels but now the hard work of persuading certain members of his cabinet begins.