Johnson announces new Brexit deal
Boris Johnson has announced that he has reached an agreement with the EU over a new deal.
Johnson announced the new deal in a tweet, describing it as "a great new deal that takes back control."
Jean-Claude Juncker labelled the new deal a "fair and balanced agreement" with both leaders urging their respective parliaments to back it.
However, reservations still exist about whether the deal will be able to secure parliamentary support. Key to these efforts will be the support of the DUP, who announced yesterday that they cannot back the deal as it stands.
The DUP’s support will be vital for the legal text of any deal to be approved by Parliament, but it is yet to be satisfied with certain elements of Johnson’s new plans for Northern Ireland as an alternative to the controversial backstop arrangement.
In a joint statement from DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy Nigel Dodds, the party said that discussions with the government are “ongoing” and that it will continue to work in tandem with Johnson’s cabinet in pursuit of a “sensible” deal that “works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the UK”.
Highlighting the DUP's grievances with Johnson’s plans, the statement said: “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’”.
The prime minister will now head to Brussels for a two-day EU summit of European leaders where he will look to receive their approval for a new deal.
Furthermore, numerous Conservative MPs from the Eurosceptic European Research Group have said that their own support for a Brexit deal depends entirely on whether the DUP backs it.
ERG chairman Steve Baker said on Wednesday that they "hope [to] be with the prime minister” and vote in favour of a deal, but warned that “there are thousands of people out there who are counting on us not to let them down and we are not going to”.
Should the prime minister not receive parliamentary approval on Saturday, regardless of whether he has the EU’s support, he is required by law to request an extension to the Article 50 deadline, pushing the Brexit date back to January 31 2020.