YESTERDAY morning the President of the European Commission and Tory PM Johnson announced that they had agreed a Brexit deal. That deal now has to pass through Parliament with a special emergency sitting tomorrow, the first time that the House of Commons has sat on a weekend since the 1982 Malvinas war.
At a joint press conference, Jean-Claude Juncker President of the European Commission said: ‘We have a deal, and this deal means that there is no need for any kind of prolongation.
‘It is a fair and balanced agreement. It is testament to our commitment to finding a solution. It provides certainty where Brexit creates uncertainty.
‘It protects the rights of our citizens and it protects peace and security on the island of Ireland. There will be no border on the island of Ireland and the Single Market will be protected.
‘The deal is not about us. The deal is about people and peace and I look forward to continuing my conversations with Boris, because we will start the negotiations on our future relationship immediately.’
Tory PM Johnson then said: ‘I do think that this deal represents a very good deal both for the EU and for the UK. It is a reasonable, fair outcome and reflects the large amount of work that has been undertaken by both sides.
‘I agree Jean Claude with what you said about it protecting the peace process in the island of Ireland and of course for us in the UK. It means that we can deliver a real Brexit that achieves our objectives and it means the UK leaves whole and entire on October 31.’
However, the Democratic Unionist Party, which the government relies on for support in key votes, said: ‘These proposals are not, in our view, beneficial to the economic well-being of Northern Ireland and they undermine the integrity of the Union.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘We are unhappy with this deal and as it stands we will vote against the deal.’
He continued by admitting that he had not read the details of the deal but then added: ‘A Labour government elected in a general election would within three months negotiate an agreement with the European Union around the five pillars I have often set out which are the Customs Union, trade relationship, protection of rights and of course protection of the Good Friday Agreement. And then within six months we would put that to a referendum under a Labour government.’
Nigel Farage of the Brexit Party – who once offered to form an election pact with Tory PM Johnson, said yesterday: ‘The deal binds us into so many other commitments on foreign policy, military policy, list as long as your arm, and I frankly think it should be rejected.
‘I would very much like us to leave on October 31 but I understand that the Benn Act has been passed and that makes it impossible.
‘Would I rather accept a new European treaty that is, frankly, very bad for us, or would I prefer to have an extension, and a general election?
‘I would always go for the latter option. I genuinely believe that a clean break and being able to be competitive is the absolute key to our future economic success. We cannot do that with this new treaty. Look, I would much rather we had an extension and a chance of a general election than accept this dreadful new EU treaty.’
Sinn Féin welcomed the deal as the ‘least worst option’. Sinn Fein president, Mary Lou McDonald, said: ‘I welcome the fact that an agreement has been reached between the European Union and the British government.
‘There is no such thing as a good Brexit. Brexit is being foisted on the north of Ireland against the democratic wishes of the people.
‘As a party, Sinn Féin has worked to defend Irish interests from the worst impacts of Brexit.
‘It was Sinn Féin who first made the case for a “designated special status for the north within the EU” and it was Sinn Féin who insisted on the protection of the Good Friday agreement and no hard border on the island of Ireland as bottom lines.
‘We have also insisted that no veto can be given to Unionism.’
Dave Wiltshire Secretary of the All Trade Unions Alliance told News Line: ‘I urge all Labour MPs to vote for the deal that has been negotiated to leave the EU by Tory PM Johnson.
‘If Labour MPs allow it to be voted down, then they are opening up the road for a second referendum to remain in the EU and to see all workers basic rights come under fierce attack on all fronts.
‘If the deal is voted down by an anti-Brexit alliance of renegade Tories, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Nationalists and right-wing Labourites the door will be opened up for a second referendum to remain in the EU against the wishes of the 17.4 million people that voted to leave in 2016.
A mass of Labour MPs voting to leave the EU will clear the way for the emergence of a real socialist leadership in the Labour Party that will fight a general election on socialist policies of nationalising the banks and the major industries to bring in socialism. This is the way forward.’