Boris Johnson faces Commons struggle after securing Brexit deal
Boris Johnson is facing an uphill struggle to get the last-minute Brexit deal he struck with the EU through the Commons.
Following days of intense negotiations, the Prime Minister announced an agreement had been reached with Brussels as he headed to a summit of EU leaders on Thursday.
However, key Tory ally the DUP stood firm over its objections to the Government’s Brexit stance.
With the Commons expected to sit on Saturday to go over the deal, the first weekend session of Parliament for 37 years, the DUP insisted it still could not yet back the Government’s EU withdrawal plans.
The stance of the DUP is important because the party wields influence over some hardline Tory Brexiteers and Mr Johnson is far short of a majority in Parliament.
The Prime Minister 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.”
Mr Johnson added: “We will leave the EU’s customs union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.
“This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks’ time.”
Mr Johnson said that the “anti-democratic” backstop had 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.”
European Commission president 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.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was quick to dismiss the deal.
Speaking during a visit to Brussels, he said: “This is a day where the Prime Minister seems to have made a deal with the European Union which doesn’t give us the complete freedom of movement between Britain and Ireland because it creates a customs union border down the Irish Sea.
“As it stands we cannot support this deal.
“Also it is unclear whether it has the support of his allies in the DUP, or indeed many of his allies on his own backbenches.”
“From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected.”
Speaking at a press conference, European Commission chief negotiator, Michel Barnier said: “Throughout these negotiations the EU and UK were fully committed to protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland.
“Discussions over the past days have at times been difficult, but have delivered and we have delivered together.
“There should be no surprises here, much of the final text can also be found in the agreement that was put forward a year ago.
“There are some new elements including on Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“This agreement has been built together with the UK, that’s why I am confident it can be supported and ratified in time.”
Mr Corbyn said he does not “suspect” Saturday will present a chance to get a confirmatory referendum through Parliament.
Asked if he would back a second referendum on Saturday when speaking in Brussels, he told reporters: “It won’t come up on Saturday, I suspect.”