Belfast Telegraph

Brexit deal done, Boris Johnson announces

The move came as EU leaders gathered in Brussels.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the back of Downing Street (PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the back of Downing Street (PA)

By Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent

A Brexit deal has been agreed with the EU, Boris Johnson has said.

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.”

The announcement came as Mr Johnson was heading for a crunch EU summit in Brussels and follows days of intense negotiations.

However, he is expected to face a tough task getting the agreement through Parliament.

With the Commons expected to sit on Saturday to discuss it – the first weekend session for 37 years – the DUP insisted it still could not yet back the Government’s Brexit plans.

The stance of the DUP is important because the party wields influence over some Tory Brexiteers.

Announcing the deal on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.

“This new deal ensures that we #TakeBackControl of our laws, borders, money and trade without disruption & establishes a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation.

“This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks’ time, so we can then focus on the people’s priorities and bring the country back together again.

“This new deal takes back control. Under the previous negotiation, Brussels maintained ultimate control and could have forced Britain to accept EU laws and taxes for ever.

“We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.”

Mr Johnson added that the “anti-democratic” backstop had been abolished.

He tweeted: “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.”

A senior Government source told the PA news agency that the agreement would take Britain out of all EU laws and allow for free trade deals, with the whole UK participating in them.

The source said Northern Ireland would be in the UK customs territory “forever”, and that the so-called border backstop had been “abolished”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was quick to dismiss the deal.

This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

“From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected,” he said.

“These proposals risk triggering a race to the bottom on rights and protections: putting food safety at risk, cutting environmental standards and workers’ rights, and opening up our NHS to a takeover by US private corporations.

“This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote.”

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson reaffirmed her commitment to giving the public another vote on Brexit after the deal was announced.

“The next few days will shape the future of our country for generations,” Ms Swinson tweeted.

“I am more determined than ever to #StopBrexit and give the public the final say in a #PeoplesVote.”

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