Boris Johnson praises ‘excellent’ Brexit deal
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed “this excellent deal” after thrashing out an agreement with the EU that he predicts will allow Britain to leave the bloc on 31 October.
Speaking alongside Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Thursday afternoon, Johnson said his focus now was on working on the “future partnership” between the two sides.
This, he told reporters, promised to be “incredibly positive both for the UK and EU.”
Paying “tribute” to both Juncker, the Commission President, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Johnson said it was a “good deal” for the UK and EU, adding, “it is a fair outcome that reflects a large amount of work by both sides.”
The agreement, he insisted, would “protect the peace process” in Ireland and “means we can finally deliver on a real Brexit which achieves all our objectives, both as a whole and in entirety” by Halloween.
Looking ahead to Saturday when UK MPs will be asked to sign off on the deal at a special sitting of the Westminster Parliament, Johnson said, “I hope now that my fellow MPs will come together in order to ensure that Brexit happens and that we can get this excellent deal over the line.”
There is still doubt over whether this will be possible, with uncertainty about the voting intentions of some in his own party, as well as Labour and Liberal MPs.
The DUP have already said they will vote against it because “it drives a coach and horses” through the Good Friday Agreement.
“I hope now that my fellow MPs will come together in order to ensure that Brexit happens and that we can get this excellent deal over the line” Boris Johnson
Even so, an unrepentant Johnson said, “Now is the moment to get Brexit done and start to work on the future partnership with the EU.”
Johnson, clearly in an upbeat mood, concluded by telling the packed news briefing at the Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters that “Britain is a quintessential and solid European country.”
A visibly tired Juncker stood alongside Johnson, saying once again said he was “sad” that Britain may now be about to leave the EU, but added that he also believed the deal agreed on Thursday would “protect peace and stability” on both sides of the Irish border.
Juncker, set to stand down soon as Commission President, said, “There will be no border on the island of Ireland and the single market will be protected.”
He said the agreement would “create certainty where Brexit has created uncertainty.”
The former Luxembourg Prime Minister said he hoped attention would now shift to the “next phase” of the UK exit with work starting on this – the future trade relationship between the two sides – “without interruption” on 1 November, the day after Britain is now due to leave.
“It is up to the European Parliament and not just the Westminster Parliament as well. This [the European Parliament] will have the final say and it is up to them to give their approval” Jean-Claude Juncker
However, on this he added a note of caution, telling reporters, “It is up to the European Parliament and not just the Westminster Parliament as well. This (the European Parliament) will have the final say and it is up to them to give their approval.”
Juncker finished by noting the “excellent relationship I have enjoyed with Boris in the last few weeks.”
Both Barnier and Stephen Barclay, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, also attended the news conference.
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