17/10/2019

UK & EU Reach New Brexit Deal

A new Brexit deal has been reached between UK and EU negotiators, however the DUP has said it plans to vote against it.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a battle in the House of Commons with an unusual Saturday sitting to seek approval for his deal, however his former allies the DUP are set to reject it.

Hailing the agreement a "great deal that takes back control", Mr Johnson urged Parliament to get Brexit done and pave the way for focus on other priorities.

The Democratic Unionists, which the government relies on for majority support, are not prepared to support the package as it does not contain a veto over Northern Ireland's position in the UK.

In a statement following the deal, the Stormont party said the proposals are not beneficial to the economic well-being of Northern Ireland, and "undermine the integrity of the Union".

The party had previously identified three obstacles to the revised deal, which are customs, consent and a lack of clarity on VAT.

They added: "Saturday's vote in Parliament on the proposals will only be the start of a long process to get any Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the House of Commons."

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein have welcomed the news of an agreement. Michelle O'Neill said this afternoon: "Brexit does not have the democratic consent of people in the North.

"Deal or no deal - there is no good #Brexit.
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"I welcome that an agreement has been reached between the EU & the British Government.

"The proposed deal is complex & still presents many uncertainties for businesses."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the proposed deal allows the UK an avenue to leave the EU in an orderly way.

"We have a unique solution for NI that respects unique history and geography," he wrote on Twitter. "Its good for Ireland and NI. No hard border. All-island and East-West economy can continue thrive. Protects Single Market & our place in it."

As the deal heads for Parliament approval, Alliance Leader Naomi Long called for a people's vote to prevent either a no-deal or a poor deal.

MEP Naomi Long said while her party is assessing the details, it "appears to be a worse deal than the original backstop, as envisaged by Theresa May".

"Ultimately, this is not a safety net but a new status quo. Yet it is not a solution which provides long-term economic or political certainty, with businesses left in a flux and any restored Assembly put under continued pressure.

"There is no such thing as a good or sensible Brexit, but we recognise no deal will be catastrophic for Northern Ireland in particular.

"Instead of the 'easiest deal in history', as sold by the Leave campaigns, we are now effectively being asked to choose between a poor deal and no deal, a rock and a hard place."



(JG/MH)

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