Boris Johnson’s government reaches ‘great’ new Brexit deal with European Union
October 17, 2019
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a “great” new Brexit deal has been reached between the European Union and UK.

“We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control,” he tweeted.

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, described the deal as “fair and balanced”.

“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,” he said.

🇪🇺🤝🇬🇧 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. pic.twitter.com/7AfKyCZ6k9

The draft deal, which came just hours before a crucial European summit, will now need to be approved by both UK and European parliaments, which could prove difficult.

Mr Junker has written to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, asking him to endorse the deal.

“I recommend that the European Council endorses this revised withdrawal agreement and political declaration at its forthcoming meeting,” he wrote.

“As I have indicated to you in the past, I believe it is high time to complete the withdrawal process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union’s future partnership with the United Kingdom.”

But earlier on Thursday, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) — a key ally of Mr Johnson’s — said it remained opposed to the deal.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31. Picture: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD/AFPSource:AFP

“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,” leader Arlene Foster said in a statement.

“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.”

Without the support of the DUP’s 10 politicians, Mr Johnson may struggle to get his deal ratified.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also called on MPs to reject the deal.

“From what we know, it seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected,” he said.

“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.”

From what we know, Johnson's negotiated a worse deal than Theresa May. This sell-out deal risks our rights, protections and NHS. It won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. pic.twitter.com/ZMKSNt2Nc9

Mr Johnson now faces a challenge in getting the deal approved by parliament. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

WHAT DOES THE DEAL SAY?

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the deal rested on four main elements.

Firstly, Northern Ireland will remain aligned to “a limited set of EU rules” notably related to goods. “This means that all applicable procedures on goods will take place at the points of entry into Northern Ireland and not across the island,” he said.

Secondly, Northern Ireland will remain in the UK's customs territory. “It will therefore benefit from the UK's future trade policy, but will also remain an entry point into our single market,” he said.

Thirdly, the two sides will agree to “maintain the integrity of the single market” while also satisfying the UK’s “legitimate wishes” regarding value-added tax (VAT).

And finally, Northern Ireland representatives will be able to decide whether to continue applying the EU rules after four years.

On Twitter, Mr Johnson hailed the deal as a way to “take back control”, adding the “anti-democratic backstop” had been abolished and the people of Northern Ireland would be in charge of their laws.

The anti-democratic backstop has been abolished. The people of Northern Ireland will be in charge of the laws that they live by, and – unlike the backstop – will have the right to end the special arrangement if they so choose. #GetBrexitDone #TakeBackControl

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Mr Johnson will now take the deal to the House of Commons for final approval on Saturday, hoping to ensure an orderly departure on October 31.

But if he cannot secure a deal by then, he will need to ask the EU for another Brexit extension.

— With wires