UK’s Johnson says ‘great new deal’ reached on Brexit

17 Oct 2019 / 19:21 H.

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pix) on Thursday announced what he said was a “great new deal” for Britain to leave the European Union, as leaders gathered in Brussels for talks.

“We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control,“ he wrote on Twitter, calling on lawmakers in London to approve the agreement at a rare Saturday sitting of parliament.

A previous deal brokered by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, was rejected three times by parliament, where the governing Conservative Party does not have a majority.

All eyes in London will now turn to whether Johnson, who has vowed to take Britain out of the EU by the end of the month, has enough support to push through the agreement in parliament.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party earlier said it could not support what was being proposed on customs and consent issues for the border with Ireland post-Brexit.

It also said there was a “lack of clarity” on sales tax. A DUP source said after Johnson’s announcement that the party’s position had not changed.

But Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said the new deal should be rejected by MPs.

“It seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May,“ he said in a statement, referring to a previous accord thrown out by MPs in November last year.

The proposals were “putting food safety at risk” and would open up Britain’s cherished free state healthcare system to “takeover by private US corporations”, he added.

“This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected,“ the veteran socialist said.

There was also opposition from the smaller opposition Liberal Democrats, which has said it would not honour the 2016 referendum result to leave the EU if it came to power.

“The fight to stop Brexit is far from over,“ Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said, assessing Johnson’s deal would have an adverse effect on the British economy, public services and environment.

“When this deal comes to parliament, we will use every possible opportunity to give the public a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal that includes the option to remain in the European Union,“ she added. — AFP

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