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Boris Johnson Says He's Got a 'Great New Deal' – What Happens Now?

The 64-page document must have majority support in Parliament before we can leave the EU.

by Ruby Lott-Lavigna
17 October 2019, 11:22am

Photo via Alamy.

Exciting times in the world of Brexit, and you certainly don't say that very often. After assuring the British people that they would be leaving the EU by the 31st of October, Boris Johnson has finally secured a deal. This follows weeks of seemingly no movement and little support from other European countries, but the Prime Minister has now produced an exit agreement to bring back to Parliament. So, what happens next?

This morning on Twitter, Johnson announced a “great new deal” that “takes back control.” In what should have been then deemed 'a thread:', Theresa May followed up by explaining the main aspects of the deal: that there would be no hard border on the island of Ireland, that she considers it a “good financial deal,” and that it secured “the rights of EU citizens living here, and UK citizens living in the EU.”

However, Jeremy Corbyn says that Johnson's deal is "even worse" than the one negotiated by Theresa May in November last year, and that MPs should reject it.

MPs, journalists and lawyers will be racing to analyse the 64-page document (here, in a PDF, if you’re that way inclined), published this morning, to see what it means for the future of the UK.

So, are we’re leaving then?

Well, not necessarily. While negotiating with the 27 member states of the EU to come to this deal has been difficult in itself, the House of Commons must also vote on the deal. As Johnson does not have a majority in Parliament, getting the deal passed means winning the backing of former Tory rebels who were kicked out of the party, the DUP, as well as Labour MPs who are unlikely to support a deal without serious sway.

What are the odds of the deal getting through Parliament?

Low-ish. This morning, before a deal was announced, the DUP said that they would not back a deal. Hours later, when the deal had been officially announced, they, er, said that their position stands and they will not back a deal. If Johnson is using the existence of a deal to pressure the DUP to change their minds, then it could only harden their position, considering their priorities are not to the Prime Minister, but to Northern Ireland.

However Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, says that Johnson believes the deal will pass. Well, if Boris Johnson said it, then it must be true ...

When will Parliament vote on the deal?

For the first time since the Falklands War, Parliament will sit on a Saturday to vote on Johnson’s deal. As if it couldn’t get any more exciting, the day has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday,’ like some sort of football derby or DFS sofa sale. If Johnson can’t get the deal through Parliament, he may try to revoke the Benn Act, which says that if no deal is agreed upon by the 19th of October, then the Prime Minister must ask the European Council for an extension.

What happens next?

If Johnson manages to convince MPs to vote for his "great new deal", say, by offering a referendum to Labour MPs alongside the deal, or by welcoming excluded Tory rebel MPs back into the party in exchange for a vote, then we would leave the EU with a deal. Barnier believes that if voted for, it could be ratified by the 31st of October.

However, it could also mean a general election. Perhaps Johnson knows he won’t get a deal, but is welcoming a general election in order to increase his majority – something that he has pushed for in the past. That way, instead of selling the deal to MPs, he can take it to the entire country.

But, like most things with Brexit, we’ll just have to wait and see. Speculation, thy name is Brexit.

@RubyJLL

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Europe
Brexit
Boris Johnson