UK and EU agree on Brexit deal, Boris Johnson facing battle to secure support in British parliament

Anca Alexe 17/10/2019 | 17:25

At the European Council summit on Thursday, UK prime minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders announced that they had reached a Brexit deal, after months of difficult negotiations. 

The deal is largely similar to the one agreed by Theresa May, but it has a few key changes around Northern Ireland, according to the BBC. 

The controversial “backstop” option has been removed, and Northern Ireland will remain aligned to the EU single market while remaining a part of the UK’s customs territory, which would include it in any future trade deals struck by the UK. 

However, Johnson must now go back and convince his own parliament to vote for the deal on Saturday, which may prove very challenging as the DUP party, whose support he needs, is refusing to back the deal, accusing the PM of being “too eager by far to get a deal at any cost.”

The DUP objects to the introduction of customs checks at the point of entry into Northern Ireland and the fact that the UK will not have veto power in the new arrangement.

European Council President Donald Tusk would not rule out granting an extension to the October 31 deadline in case UK MPs reject the deal, but said that he would consult other EU leaders on the matter.

Boris Johnson needs 320 votes in the House of Commons to get the deal through, but his party only has 287 MPs, some of whom may not support the agreement. If the DUP also votes against it, Johnson can hope to secure the backing of former Conservative MPs who are now independents, as well as some Labour MPs. In any case, the vote will be very close. 

 

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