Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: Johnson hails 'fair' deal as Juncker warns EU will not grant another extension

Boris Johnson has said his Brexit deal is fair, balanced and is a testament to the Government's commitment to finding solutions.

Speaking to the press at the EU summit alongside Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister said he agreed with the European commission president that the peace process in Northern Ireland should be protected.

"I think it is a reasonable, fair outcome and reflected the large amount of work undertaken by both sides," Mr Johnson said.

"It means the UK leaves whole and entire on October 31 and it means that Northern Ireland and every part of the UK can take part in not just free trade deals, offering our tariffs, exporting our goods around the world, but it also means we can take, together as a single United Kingdom, decisions about our future - our laws, our borders, our money and how we want to run the UK.

"This is a fair, a balanced agreement. It is testament to our commitment to finding solutions. It provides certainty where Brexit creates uncertainty," he said.

The deal effectively puts a border down the Irish Sea in terms of regulations and states there would continue to be "unfettered" access for goods from Northern Ireland moving into the UK.

The agreement still has to be ratified by Parliament and Mr Johnson faces an uphill task of getting the numbers required in a special sitting of Parliament due to take place on Saturday.

Mr Juncker said the EU will not grant another Brexit extension.

When asked if the deal would pass parliament, he said: "It has to.

"We have concluded a deal. So there is not an argument for delay. It has to be done now."

As he arrived at the summit, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "As things stand we have a draft agreement between the European Union on one the hand and the British Government on the other.

"I think it is a good agreement. It allows the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion with a transition period which is very important for businesses and citizens across the European Union and also in the UK.

"And also creates a unique solution for Northern Ireland recognising the unique history and geography of Northern Ireland, one that ensures no hard border between north and south, one which allows the all-Ireland economy to continue to develop and one which protects the European single market and our place in it."

"So I will be in a position to recommend to the European Council today that the agreement be endorsed."

Mr Varadkar added: "The backstop has been replaced with a new solution, unique to Northern Ireland recognising its unique geography, and which protects the all island economy and access to the single market, and takes account of democratic wishes of the people in Northern Ireland.

"The House of Commons will meet on Saturday and the best thing we can do as Irish politicians is not intervene of interfere in UK politics, it's up to them to decide whether they want a deal, they rejected the last deal on three occasions."

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