The Prime Minister and her cabinet finally agreed a Brexit deal tonight. Here's Kirsty Hughes on what it all means.

THIS UK Government proposal is much as had been predicted in recent days. The UK would follow EU rules in goods and agriculture – raising the question of why we are leaving the EU at all. The result, if the EU accepted it which is unlikely, would be that instead of having a vote, a voice and a seat at the table, the UK would become a rule-taker like Norway. The UK wouldn't keep free movement of people but there will be a "mobility framework" that might not be so very different. 

Services are left out which means there will be much reduced access to EU markets for UK services even though almost 40% of our current trade with the EU is services – and is very competitive, the UK has a surplus in services unlike goods. Independent estimates have suggested on a Canada-style trade deal (which is the best the UK could hope for) services trade to the EU could fall by over 60%. This makes no sense at all – for the Tories, services can go hang.

The customs proposal is very similar, it seems, to the proposal last year from Theresa May that some in Brussels suggested was absurd or even insane. This is a cake and eat it customs proposal whereby the UK is almost in the customs union but can, in theory, still strike its own trade deals. Given that the UK, on the May proposal, won't be part of the European Court of Justice or even set up a new court like the EFTA court for Norway et al, this proposal is likely to fall flat – and without the EU accepting that the UK is exactly following EU rules and fully in the customs union, there still won't be frictionless borders that Airbus, Jaguar, BMW and others need.

This proposal would solve the challenge of the Irish border but as the EU has said before, a special deal for Northern Ireland is not one that can then apply to the whole UK.

Overall, the EU now has two choices – to reject this rapidly or to say there is some basis for negotiation here. With the latter approach, the EU may stand a chance of getting an acceptable deal for Northern Ireland and pushing the problem of the future relationship with the UK into the future. The Brexiters lose most things but get a chance of Brexit happening in March 2019. The EU will not, however, go for such cherry-picking of the single market and the four freedoms. So they might offer the UK somewhat better access than Canada got in its deal but it is hard to see a deal out of this that would preserve the frictionless borders manufacturing business need.

This proposal from the Prime Minister may reduce the chance of a big enough rebellion on the Tory side on the customs union amendment that comes back to the Commons a week on Monday. However, if backbench Brexiters rebel against this – despite no Cabinet resignations – then if Labour were willing to oppose a deal on this basis (even if it is not a million miles from their position) there might still be a serious possibility that Westminster would reject a deal on this basis.

Kirsty Hughes is director of the Scottish Centre for European Relations