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Britain Reaches Tentative Brexit Deal With E.U., Needs Parliamentary Approval

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a closing speech at the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, England, October 2, 2019. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

Britain reached a tentative agreement with Brussels on Thursday regarding its exit from the European Union.

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,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced via Twitter. 

“This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks’ time,” he continued, adding that “Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday.”

“Where there is a will there is a deal – we have one,” wrote European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on hist Twitter account. “It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is a testament to our commitment to find solutions.”

Johnson still faces resistance from his coalition’s Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which has refused to support the new agreement.

Negotiations had stalled over the question of how to deal with goods crossing between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the former of which is in the E.U. while the latter is part of Britain. Setting up customs checkpoints on the Northern Irish border with Ireland would have violated the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which ended decades of conflict in the region.

The new agreement keeps Northern Ireland in the U.K. customs zone while tariffs will be applied on goods traveling from Britain to Northern Ireland if those goods are marked for a destination beyond Northern Ireland’s borders.

The DUP, however, could “not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT,” said DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds in a statement.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage voiced discontent with the deal, writing on Twitter that “the ‘new deal’ is not Brexit, despite improvements on the customs union.”

Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn has also refused to support the deal, pushing instead for another referendum on whether to leave the E.U.

“From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s,” Corbyn wrote on his Facebook page. “This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected.”

 

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