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17 October, 2019 05:31:47 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 October, 2019 08:49:24 PM
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UK, EU agree new Brexit deal

Independent Online/ BBC
UK, EU agree new Brexit deal

A Brexit deal has been agreed between UK and EU negotiating teams before a meeting of European leaders in Brussels.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "We've got a great new deal that takes back control."

The two sides have been working on the legal text of a deal, but it will still need the approval of both the UK and European parliaments.

The DUP has cast doubt on its success, saying they still cannot support it.

The Northern Irish party earlier released a statement saying they could not back proposals "as things stand", and - after the PM's announcement - said their statement "still stands".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the deal sounded "even worse" than what was negotiated by the PM's predecessor, Theresa May, and "should be rejected" by MPs.

But European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it was a "fair and balanced agreement".

Both he and Mr Johnson have urged their respective parliaments to back the deal.

No 10 sources have told the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg that Mr Johnson will later ask EU leaders to reject requests for an extension to the Brexit deadline of 31 October.

MPs passed a law in September that requires the PM to request an extension on 19 October if Parliament has not agreed a deal or backed leaving without a deal by that date.

Mr Johnson's proposals for a new Brexit deal hinged on getting rid of the controversial backstop - the solution negotiated between Theresa May and the EU to solve issues around the Irish border after the UK leaves.

By removing it, he hoped to secure the support of Brexiteers in his own party and the DUP - which could hold the key to getting the numbers for a successful vote in the Commons.

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the new deal rests on four main elements:

Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of EU rules, notably related to goods
Northern Ireland will remain in the UK's customs territory, but will "remain an entry point" into the EU's single market
There is an agreement to maintain the integrity of the single market and satisfy the UK's VAT concerns
Northern Ireland representatives will be able to decide whether to continue applying union rules in Northern Ireland or not every four years
Mr Barnier told a press conference in Brussels that the final point - allowing for votes in the Northern Ireland Assembly - was "a cornerstone of our newly agreed approach".

The decision would be based on a simple majority, rather than requiring a majority of both unionists and nationalists to support the rules in order for them to pass.

Chris Morris from BBC Reality Check said another key part of the deal was text saying Northern Ireland would be part of a United Kingdom customs union - "in other words, Northern Ireland will leave the European customs union and it will be part of new trade deals done around the world".

But, he said, this move creates a "de facto border down the Irish Sea for customs and goods", and that in turn will be seen as "an impediment to trade" in the UK, especially by the DUP.

The DUP has been in a confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative Party since the 2017 election, which, in the past, gave the government a working majority.

But after resignations and the removal of the party whip from more than 20 Tory MPs in recent weeks, Mr Johnson now could face a tough battle to get his deal through Parliament.

Mr Barnier said he and Mr Juncker had been told by the PM "he has faith in his ability to convince the majority he needs in the House of Commons".

Leader of the Commons and Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg said it was a "really exciting day today in British politics" as he urged MPs to "rally round this great deal".

He told the Commons: "It is a really exciting and positive deal - it removes the undemocratic backstop [and] it will ensure we are one, single customs territory."

Praising Mr Johnson, he added: "In 85 days, he has achieved something that could not be achieved in three years."

But fellow Brexit backer and leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, called for it to be rejected by Parliament.

"It's just not Brexit," he told the BBC. "If this was to be agreed to we then enter into years more negotiations."

He said the deal meant "we will not be making our own laws in our own country" and said the treaty "binds us in to other commitments".

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, also condemned the deal as "bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment".

The pro-Remain MP said the "fight to stop Brexit is far from over", adding: "The next few days will set the direction of our country for generations, and I am more determined than ever to stop Brexit."

HM

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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