Boris Johnson has pulled off a vastly-improved deal against all odds and in defiance of his sneering criticsCredit: Rex Features
Our divided, paralysed country is desperate for Brexit to be sorted. Boris’s deal will do it.
But he has a mountain to climb in the Commons. TheDUP are suddenly opposed. But the new arrangements for Northern Ireland seem entirely reasonable. They still have 24 hours to come to their senses.
TheTory ERG grouphave no reason to cry foul. They have been kept informed line by line – and in Boris they at last have a genuine Brexit believer. Plus, this truly looks their last chance.
It is time too for Labor MPs in Leave seats, who have repeatedly claimed they want a deal, to finally vote for one. Yes, we know they are terrified ofCorbyn and Momentum’s revenge– but it is time now to do right by their VOTERS and our democracy.
The same goes for the ex-Tory rebels. They always said they only opposed No Deal. Fine. Vote, then, for this one. The rest of Labor and the Lib-Dems are beyond hope, making fools of themselves with their exaggerated criticisms yesterday. But the public is listening less and less. As this week’s landmark survey showed, Britain just wants the referendum result enacted NOW.
The EU could all but secure Boris his victory by officially refusing to grant an extension to our October 31 deadline – thus killing off theBenn “Surrender Act”and the second referendum plot.
Most MPs would then prefer the deal toNo Dealor revoking Brexit.
We urge the EU to do it. It makes sense for them and us. No one but the most stubborn Remainers wants to prolong the hideous uncertainty affecting our lives, businesses and economies. An extension will do so for months, even years.
And both the deals the EU has painstakingly put together over more than three years will have come to nothing. But whether or not Boris triumphs tomorrow he has already spectacularly proved the doubters, Remainer pundits and conspiracy theorists wrong.
Remember the fantasy about the negotiations being a smokescreen – that the PM was steering Britain towards No Deal to enrich his hedge fund mates? Remember how the EU would never reopen the Withdrawal Agreement? Thatthe hated Irish backstopwas set in stone? That Ireland would never negotiate with Britain directly? All of it was rubbish.
The deal was rewritten and significantly improved after a one-to-one summit between Boris andIrish PM Leo Varadkar.The backstop is dead. Boris has landed a great deal which secures what the17 .4million majority voted for in 2016,with Britain out of the EU and its central institutions and courts, free to do global trade deals.
Take it. End the agony. People are crying out for resolutionon October 31.They will be aghast and outraged if our dithering politicians instead choose to snatch this golden chance away.
Boris gets it over the line … and Juncker helps!
BORIS Johnson took the most dramatic gamble of his Premiership by sealing a new Brexit deal without his DUP allies.
The PM decided to abandonthe Ulster unionistsafter six torturous days of negotiations failed to win them round to hisnew plan for Northern Ireland.
Instead, with just four hours to spare before a crunch EU summit, Boris agreed a breakthrough new agreement withEU chief Jean Claude Junckerto ditch the hated Irish backstop. It gives the province a special status of being outside the EU’s Customs Union, but liable to Brussels trade tariffs as well as rules for goods and farming.
Boris then dramatically laid down the gauntlet to Parliament to pass it in a showdown vote during a special Commons Saturday sitting – or face aNo Deal exit on Halloweeninstead.
But without the DUP, and with 40hardline Tory euroscepticsrefusing yet to say how they’ll vote, the PM’s chances of it passing were last night on a knife edge.
Speaking in Brussels at the summit,Boris declared he is “very confident” that MPs will back him when they “study this agreement”. The PM said the last three years, three months and 23 days since the EU referendum result had been “long, painful, and divisive”.
But that will end if MPs allow Britain to leave the EU on October 31 in 13 days time. Mr Johnson insisted: “Now is the moment for us as a country to come together. Now this is the moment for our parliamentarians to come together and get this thing done. ”
He also hailed his deal as meaning “we can come out of the EU as one United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – and decide our future together”.
Now is the moment for us as a country to come together.
As the titanic battle for Brexit turned to Commons arithmetic, also:
- EU chiefs tried to help the PM channel wavering MPs to back his deal by saying there was “no need” for another extension, but failed to completely rule one out
- The livid Democratic Unionist Party accsued Boris of selling out Northern Ireland
- DUP MPs were in talks with hardline Tory eurosceptics and were “hopeful” that 15 members of the ERG would vote with them to sink the deal,
- Mr Johnson refused to rule out stripping the whip from Tory MPs who rebel against the deal when quizzed by The Sun.
- The PM hinted he was preparing a package of measures to safeguard workers rights in a bid to win over enough pro-Brexit Labor MPs.
- Boris abandoned a Brussels summit early to fly back to London late last night to lead a frantic 48 hour effort to find a Commons majority for the deal without his Ulster allies.
Farage in treaty fury
NIGEL Farage blasted Boris Johnson’s Brexit blueprint as “utterly unacceptable”.
The Brexit Party leader said he would rather delay Britain’s departure than leave under the plan.
He said it was “just not Brexit” and added: “I would much rather we had an extension and a chance of a general election than accept this dreadful new EU treaty.”
Hitting back at Boris, the furious DUP vowed to mount trench warfare against him in the Commons to block his deal. The unionist party – whose 10 MPs prop up the PM’s minority Tory Government – turned down the latest offer hammered out by negotiators in Brussels through the night at 6. 45 am yesterday.
DUP bosses insisted the plan would undermine “the integrity of the Union” by having customs checks between the province and mainland Britain. They also insisted it “drives a coach and horses” through theGood Friday Agreementby allowing nationalists to overrule the unionst community over it with a simple majority vote in the Stormont assembly.
Turning the knife, theDUP’s deputy leader Nigel Doddsof being “too eager by far to get a deal at any cost” just to avoid another extension. Mr Dodds added: “The fact of the matter is if he had held his nerve and he would of course got better concessions which kept the integrity of the UK”.
Another DUP MP, Ian Paisley Jnr, added: “We had a feeling this was coming from a bad meeting we had in No 10 on Tuesday night. Boris just doesn’t get the union ”. The DUP were in regular contact with hardline Tory eurosceptics yesterday in a bid to persuade them to vote down the deal.
One unionist MP said they are “hopeful” that 15 MP members of the European Research Group – who dub themselves the Spartans – will vote against the deal, including (ex-Cabinet minister Owen Paterson) and evenformer Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith.
The MP added: “Boris was always going to shaft us. Some of the ERG will be pulled away, but we’re hopeful 15 will stick with us ”.
The EU’s 28 leaders formally signed off the deal after a two hour Brussels meeting Thursday afternoon in a summit roomdecorated with pumpkins. Under it, the whole of the UK will be able to benefit from new trade deals.
The Stormont assembly will get a consent ‘veto’ that could end the deal in five years time and every four years after then. But it also emerged that Mr Johnson was forced to agree a climb down that means Britain may continue to mirror swathes of EU standards as part of a future trade deal in.
The PM has signed up to a controversial “Level Playing Field” mechanism despite pushing for it to be stripped out of the FTA blueprint. Announcing the formal deal, EU Council Donald Tuskdeclared he felt “sadness” and that he wanted the UK to one day rejoin the EU.
Mr Tusk said: “In my heart I will always be a Remainer. I hope the British choose to return one day, because our door will always be open”.
Boris lobbiedFrance’s Emmanuel Macronand (Germany’s Angela Merkel) to rule out any new Brexit dealy during meetings in the summit’s guidelines.
EU Commission presidentJean-Claude Juncker came to the PM’s helpto say: “He and myself don’t think it’s possible to give another prolongation. There will be no other. We have a deal so why should we have a prolongation. ”But the 27 national leaders kept the door open for one by refusing to even address the issue in their formal summit declaration.
If Boris can win Saturday’s meaningful vote, he then faces a titanic challenge to pass the bill through the Commons in just (days by October) .
This is best deal we are ever going to get, there isn’t going to be another one now.
No 10 source
A No 10 source added: “It’s this deal or no deal, and all MPs now have to answer that very big question on Saturday. This is best deal we are ever going to get, there isn’t going to be another one now ”.
Cabinet ministers heaped praise on Boris’s achievement as they mounted a major drive to win MPs ’votes for it. Commons leader andveteran Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Moggdubbed it “a really good, exciting deal”, adding: “It delivers on what the Prime Minister promised he would do. In 85 days, he has achieved something which could not be achieved in three years ”.
Businesses also told of their delight at an exit deal and smooth transition period, but cautioned what really matters is the shape of the future trade deal with the EU. Negotiations will only begin on that once Brexit finally takes place.
CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said: “Frictionless EU trade and regulatory alignment is vital for UK prosperity and jobs”.
now vote for it
Boris ‘very confident’ MPs will back Brexit deal as Juncker rejects delay
Farage says he’d rather another extension than Boris’ ‘dreadful’ Brexit deal
WHAT’S THE DEAL?
Boris’ new Brexit plan ditches backstop & allows us to strike trade deals
How Boris and his team pulled off eleventh hour Brexit deal against all odds
Boris pulls off miracle Brexit deal as EU says there must be no more delays
Labor slammed the deal, and demanded the Government release an impact assessment on how the deal differs from Theresa May’s ahead of Saturday’s vote. ShadowBrexit Secretary Keir Starmerclaimed it “ paves the way for a decade of deregulation ”.
Mr Starmer added: “It gives Johnson license to slash workers’ rights, environmental standards and consumer protections ”.
Unions also attacked the deal as worse than Mrs May’s, with UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis dubbing it “a huge leap backwards”.
Pound up and down
STERLING swung wildly during a day of dramatic Brexit announcements.
The Pound surged to a five-month high of $ 1. 30 after the negotiating teams agreed a deal.
But in turbulent trading it began to lose ground after the DUP said it would not vote for it.
The Pound also rose against the euro, to just above € 1. 16, before falling back to settle at € 1. 1525.
Boris Johnson says he is ‘very confident’ that MPs will want to vote for his new Brexit Deal