Fri, 29 May 2020

Boris Johnson Declares A Brexit Agreement in Place

17 Oct 2019, 22:36 GMT+10

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed a 'great new deal' has been done with the EU on Brexit, just hours after the DUP appeared to scupper his chances of getting anything through parliament.

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Johnson has been negotiating with EU officials ahead of a crunch summit to work out the details of his new proposals for Brexit, including solutions to the Irish border problem.

Earlier this morning his plans looked in jeopardy as the Democratic Union Party (DUP) who he relies on in the House of Commons, said they would not be supporting the Prime Minister's offer.

But this did not dissuade Johnson from continuing talks, and he announced he had a new deal to "get Brexit done".

He tweeted: "We've got a great new deal that takes back control - now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment."

A spokesman for Johnson said the deal gets rid of the backstop - the "insurance policy" to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland which saw Theresa May's version of the deal defeated several times in the House of Commons.

But almost immediately the DUP said their earlier statement "still stands", meaning Johnson has no guarantees he will pass his plan in parliament this weekend.

The DUP had said: "We have been involved in ongoing discussions with the government.

"As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues, and there is a lack of clarity on VAT.

"We will continue to work with the government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom."

Labor's Jeremy Corbyn also said he would not back the deal, and called for a second referendum. He confirmed Labor would not bring a motion of no confidence against the government, Sky News reported.

Sterling fell 0.5% to $1.2762 after the DUP statement, but news of a deal from the prime minister sent it back up 1%, to $1.29 dollars, a five-month high. It was up 0.5% against the Euro.

The Commons will sit on Saturday, the first weekend sitting in 37 years, to discuss the proposal following the EU summit in Brussels. The government will put forward the new agreement for a vote, which has the support of the cabinet.

President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: "Where there is a will, there is a #deal - we have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that #EUCO endorses this deal."

In a letter he said it was "high time" to complete the divorce process and move on to negotiate the future relationship.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator on Brexit, said the deal on the table would last until the end of the transition agreement, which is due to finish at the end of 2020.

Barnier said the UK had agreed to pay its financial commitments to the EU, estimated to be Pound 39bn.

He said the EU and the UK were committed to protecting peace on the island of Ireland during the negotiations and avoiding a hard border.

He said: "This text should provide legal certainty in every area where Brexit, like any separation, creates uncertainty."

Barnier said the wording of the agreement should not come as a surprise because much of it is the same as was put forward a year ago, but there are new elements on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

He said there would not be ratification of it in the upcoming EU summit.

Asked about whether Johnson had assured him of support from the Commons, Barnier said everyone there had done their jobs, and the Commons would have to take a decision.

He said: "Mr. Johnson said to President Juncker this morning he has faith in his ability to convince the majority he needs in the House of Commons.

"He said based on this agreement and the explanations he intends to give, he has confidence in his ability to win that vote."

The news of a deal has been met with little support from political opponents of the prime minister in the UK.

The SNP's leader Nicola Sturgeon said her party's MPs would vote against the deal. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the deal should be rejected.

Labor leader Corbyn said: "From what we know, it seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May's, which was overwhelmingly rejected.

"These proposals risk triggering a race to the bottom on rights and protections: putting food safety at risk, cutting environmental standards and workers' rights, and opening up our NHS to a takeover by US private corporations.

"This sell out deal won't bring the country together and should be rejected.

"The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote."

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said: "The fight to stop Brexit is far from over.

"Boris Johnson's deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

"The next few days will set the direction of our country for generations, and I am more determined than ever to stop Brexit.

"When this deal comes to parliament we will use every possible opportunity to give the public a People's Vote on the Brexit deal that includes the option to remain in the EU."

Of his allies, Simon Clarke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, tweeted: "It is marvelous news that we have a good new Brexit Deal that will allow us to take back control and leave on 31 October. The anti-democratic backstop has been abolished, we will be able to strike our own free trade deals and Northern Ireland will be in the UK customs territory."

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, said the deal was exciting and "fundamentally different" because the "undemocratic" backstop was gone.

He said he hoped the DUP would take comfort in what the deal delivers for the whole of the UK.

In Europe, Mark Rutte, the Dutch leader, said it was "very encouraging" that there is an agreement but added "now we have to study the details".

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