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  1. ITV Report

Britain's EU withdrawal: Brexit deal contents released

Theresa May's Brexit deal been signed off by the Cabinet. Credit: PA

Details of Britain's withdrawal from the EU, hammered out and published in the long-awaited Brexit deal, have been released.

The 585-page document went into the public domain after Cabinet members were given first sighting of its contents and gave their approval.

The so-called backstop, Northern Ireland and transition period are all covered in the document.

You can read the entire deal text below.

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ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand said that there would be "difficult days ahead" for Theresa May to obtain wider approval for the draft deal.

He said that one element of concern for MPs would be the idea that the transition period could be extended indefinitely.

Here are some of the main points covered in the text.

  • Potential to extend transition period

Once Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, a transition period will kick in until the end of 2020 during which the two sides will try to finalise their future trading relationship.

According to the deal text, this transition could be extended if required.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said during a press conference that this was an "option", but this avenue had not been "fleshed out".

"I don’t think that these agreements will need as much time as were needed for other trade agreements with countries which were much further away in regulatory terms, in terms of standards, and also geographically," he said.

"I think that it is feasible to construct the essentials of this future partnership within this short transition period, because we have got the basis."

  • A 'single customs territory' backstop
The UK could become subject to a 'single customs union'.

In the event that no agreement was reached on the future trading relationship by the end of the transitional period - and this was not extended - then the backstop would be an "EU-UK single customs territory".

The deal reads: "Until the future relationship becomes applicable, a single customs territory between the Union and the United Kingdom shall be established ("the single customs territory").

"Accordingly, Northern Ireland is in the same customs territory as Great Britain."

  • No hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland
Attempts have been made to avoid a hard border in Ireland. Credit: PA

Mr Barnier spoke about the efforts made to avoid the imposition of a hard border in Ireland.

The deal text states that in the backstop scenario Northern Ireland would go into the "same customs territory" as the rest of the UK.

This would mean that NI would remain in the same position as Great Britain, avoiding a customs border in the Irish Sea.

NI would remain aligned to the single market rules.

The UK would apply the EU's customs code in NI and would allow Northern Irish businesses to bring goods in to the single market without restrictions.

NI would retain "unfettered market access to the rest of the UK", the text reads.

  • Divorce payment

Britain will have to pay £39 billion in divorce payments, the text sets out.

  • Citizens' rights

The deal sets out that the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in the UK and around one million UK nationals living in the EU are protected.

One part of the text reads: "Persons falling under points (a) and (b) of Article 3(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC whose residence was facilitated by the host State in accordance with its national legislation before the end of the transition period in accordance with Article 3(2) of that Directive shall retain their right of residence in the host State in accordance with this Part, provided that they continue to reside in the host State thereafter."