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Johnson strikes a deal with EU, but he still has to convince a reluctant Parliament

Friday, October 18th 2019 - 10:58 UTC
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Thursday's deal must still pass the House of Commons, which is meeting for a special session on Saturday to debate the text - and many MPs are strongly opposed. Thursday's deal must still pass the House of Commons, which is meeting for a special session on Saturday to debate the text - and many MPs are strongly opposed.
Looking tired after days of intense negotiations, Johnson told a Brussels press conference late Thursday that he was “very confident” of getting the deal through Looking tired after days of intense negotiations, Johnson told a Brussels press conference late Thursday that he was “very confident” of getting the deal through
If Commons rejects the deal on Saturday, Johnson will be forced by law to ask EU to delay Brexit, for what would be the third time - something he says he will not do If Commons rejects the deal on Saturday, Johnson will be forced by law to ask EU to delay Brexit, for what would be the third time - something he says he will not do

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will this Friday seek to sell his Brexit deal to skeptical MPs, as he returns home fresh from an EU victory but risking defeat in parliament. Johnson pulled off a major coup in agreeing a new divorce deal with the European Union leader, paving the way for him to deliver his promise to leave the bloc on Oct 31.

But Thursday's deal must still pass the House of Commons, which is meeting for a special session on Saturday to debate the text - and many MPs are strongly opposed.

Looking tired after days of intense negotiations, Johnson told a Brussels press conference late Thursday that he was “very confident” of getting the deal through.

But he has no majority among MPs, opposition parties have come out against the deal and even his parliamentary allies, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), say they cannot support the terms.

If the Commons rejects the deal on Saturday, Johnson will be forced by law to ask the EU to delay Brexit, for what would be the third time - something he says he will not do.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sought to focus MPs' minds, saying Brussels can see no need to prolong the tortuous, three-year Brexit process.

“We have a deal, and this deal means there is no need for any kind of prolongation,” he said - although the decision to delay, if requested by London, would be for EU leaders.

He further warned that if British PMs rejected the deal it would create an “extremely complicated situation”.

Johnson, a leading Brexit campaigner in the 2016 EU referendum campaign, took office in July vowing to keep to the Oct 31 Brexit deadline, deal or no deal.

He pledged to renegotiate the most contentious elements of a divorce text agreed with Brussels last year, which was rejected by MPs three times.

But he has found that extricating Britain from four decades of economic, legal and political integration with its European neighbors is no easy task.

A compromise deal was finally struck on Thursday, with a new arrangement for keeping open the border between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

“It looks like we are very close to the final stretch,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said after the bloc's leaders endorsed the text.

Johnson has assured his European counterparts that he can get the deal through parliament.

“I'm very confident that when my colleagues in parliament study this agreement, that they will want to vote for it on Saturday, and then in succeeding days,” he told reporters. “This is our chance in the UK as democrats to get Brexit done, and come out on Oct 31.”

But the DUP has said it cannot support the plans, as efforts to avoid checks on the Irish land border would lead to new trade barriers between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

The main opposition Labour, Scottish National and Liberal Democrat parties are also against.

Their response sent the pound sinking again after it had earlier risen to five-month peaks on news of the deal.

Johnson held meetings with the DUP and other MPs this week to try to win support for his deal, made calls throughout the day on Thursday and will continue this on Friday, a Downing Street official said.

But with the numbers extremely tight, he needs to win over Labour MPs representing Brexit-supporting seats.

The Labour leadership objects to the new deal because it paves the way for looser ties between Britain and the EU than were previously envisaged, and the party has called for a second referendum on any deal.

“The deal he's proposed is heading Britain in the direction of a deregulated society and a sell-off of national assets to American corporations,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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  • Islander1

    Lets hope this time the out of touch largely with their electorate occupants of Parliament see sense and vote it a deal as all opinion polls say there is a clear majority after 3 years- to “just get it done and move on.”

    Don't really understand the NI problem as surely its just paperwork- goods going across to NI will have a tax applied (which the bulk purchaser in NI gets on his invoice from UK mainland supplier) if they then end up across the border in EU Southern Ireland - simple- that tax is deferred for say 3 months- and the bulk purchaser in NI just produces paperwork showing it all went to retailers etc in NI and thus sold within NI - and thus tax is cancelled and not payable.
    Paperwork shows say 90% sold in NI and 10% went across to the South then that 10% tax element is payable.
    Dont see a political problem - a paperwork one yes- but that's the price of keeping the peace for all over there I guess? Its called “compromise”!
    And NI if the want , can chuck it all out in 4-5yrs time anyway.

    But by then unless a total idiot in London or Brussels - UK and EU will have a Free Trade Agreement in place - so no need for taxes on anything between UK and Southern Ireland!

    Oct 18th, 2019 - 01:11 pm -2
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