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European Union leaders warned British parliament not to wreck Theresa May’s Brexit deal

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Brussels. European Union leaders warned the British parliament not to wreck Theresa May’s Brexit deal, saying a package agreed with the prime minister on Sunday was the best Britain will get.

“Those who think that, by rejecting the deal, they would get a better deal, will be disappointed,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters after the 27 other EU leaders formally endorsed a treaty setting terms for British withdrawal in March and an outline of a future EU-UK trade pact.

Asked whether there was any chance Brussels would reopen the pact if an alliance of pro- and anti-Brexit forces votes it down in the House of Commons, Juncker simply stressed “this is the best deal possible” — although summit chair Donald Tusk sounded more guarded, saying he did not want to consider hypotheticals.

May used a post-summit news conference to make a sales pitch for her plan, telling television viewers at home that it was the “only possible deal”, offering control of UK borders and budgets while maintaining close cooperation with EU regulations that was good for business and the security of the broader region.

“In any negotiation, you do not get everything you want. I think the British people understand that,” said May, who arrived after the endorsement to voice hopes for continued close ties.

Parliament’s vote could open the door to a “brighter future” or condemn the country to more division, she said. “I will make the case for this deal with all my heart,” she added, declining to answer whether she would resign if parliament rejects it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc’s veteran guiding force, echoed that unwillingness to speculate on what she called a “historic day” that was both “tragic and sad”. But Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country chairs EU meetings till the end of the year, said there could be no more negotiations.

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