Cabinet support relieves some of the pressure on Mrs. May, who has struggled for months to meet competing demands over the withdrawal, commonly known as Brexit, which is scheduled to occur on March 29.
“The choices before us were difficult, particularly in relation to northern Ireland backstop, but the collective decision of Cabinet was that government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration,” she said in a short statement. “This is a decisive step.”
Before the meeting Wednesday, hard-line advocates of Brexit had tried to persuade the full cabinet to reject the draft agreement, or to resign in protest. Either outcome would have been devastating for Mrs. May.
• There are still several steps before the agreement could take effect. The deal needs the approval of the British Parliament, which is far from a certainty. The European Parliament and the bloc’s 27 other member states would also have to approve it.
• A key sticking point is the Irish border. Negotiators are trying to find a way to allow people and goods to pass through without the imposition of border controls.