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End the Brexit ‘pain’ says Johnson as he tries to rally support for his deal

PM faces ‘super Saturday’ showdown in the Commons over withdrawal agreement.

MPs in the House of Commons (PA)
MPs in the House of Commons (PA)

By Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent

Boris Johnson has appealed to MPs to end the “pain” of Brexit limbo and endorse his withdrawal deal.

Ahead of the so-called “super Saturday” session of Parliament, the Prime Minister tried to rally support before what is expected to be a knife-edge vote.

Writing in The Sun, Mr Johnson said: “Today can be the day we get Brexit done.

“There have been any number of  false dawns. Deadlines for our departure have come and gone.

“I ask everyone to cast their mind forward to the end of today – and imagine what it could be like if the new Brexit deal has been approved.

“In less than two weeks, on October 31, we would be out of the EU.

“A difficult, divisive and – yes – painful chapter in our history would be at an end.”

Earlier, Mr Johnson has said that the Brexit deal he struck with Brussels “busts” the UK out of the Northern Ireland backstop agreed by his predecessor Theresa May.

Calling for support for the deal, Mr Johnson told ITV News: “It busts out of [the] backstop, the previous problem with the deal, the previous deal that kept us locked in the customs union and the single market so, it’s a vast, vast, vast step forward.

Asked whether Saturday’s vote was the biggest thing he has done professionally, the PM said: “Well I wouldn’t deny that, I think it’s a very big moment for our country.”

Mr Johnson added: “There’s no better outcome than the one I’m advocating tomorrow.”

The PM said he wanted the country to move on from Brexit.

“This has been a long, exhausting and quite divisive business, Brexit.

“I hope that people will think well, you know, what’s the balance, what do our constituents really want? Do they want us to keep going with this argument, do they want more division and delay?”

Sir Oliver Letwin, the former Tory Cabinet minister who now sits as an independent, has thrown the so-called “super Saturday” session of Parliament into new territory by tabling a motion allowing for amendments to Government proposals.

The MP has put forward an amendment that, if accepted by the Speaker and approved by MPs, would withhold approval of the deal unless and until implementing legislation has passed.

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Former Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin (Jeff Overs/BBC)

Sir Oliver explained his move, stating: “In short, my aim is to ensure that Boris’s deal succeeds, but that we have an insurance policy which prevents the UK from crashing out on 31 October by mistake if something goes wrong during the passage of the implementing legislation.”

The comments came as Emmanuel Macron turned up the pressure on MPs to back Mr Johnson’s new Brexit deal by raising doubts that any further delay will be granted.

Just a day before the vote, the French president said that the EU would not grant a further delay to Article 50 unless there are “some major changes”.

His threat added to one from European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, however reports have suggested Germany’s Angela Merkel believes a delay is inevitable if MPs reject the agreement on Saturday.

With no Commons majority and the DUP dismissing his plan, the PM must appeal for support from the Tory rebels he expelled and Labour MPs wanting to avoid a deal-less departure.

PA

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