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Boris Johnson returns to London to sell lawmakers new Brexit deal

The British prime minister is required by British law to seek another Brexit extension on Saturday if Parliament does not approve his new deal.

By
Clyde Hughes
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson participates with several European Union allies in the Brexit summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday. Photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson participates with several European Union allies in the Brexit summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday. Photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA-EFE

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to London Friday to try and sell Parliament the new agreement he brokered with the European Union, one day before a deadline that requires him to seek an extension.

Johnson and the EU announced the deal Thursday, which includes an alternative to the Irish "backstop," but its prospects of approval in Parliament are far from assured. Lawmakers rejected proposed Brexit agreements from former Prime Minister Theresa May three times.

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Lawmakers will vote Saturday on Johnson's EU deal. The prime minister needs 320 votes to get the proposal through Parliament, but they may be difficult to find. The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, which comprises a key portion of British Parliament, and Labor Party lawmakers have already rejected the agreement.

Johnson sounded optimistic about Saturday's make-or-break vote, and said he doesn't plan to ask for a delay -- as required by the Benn Act -- if it doesn't pass Parliament.

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"We've been at this now, as I say, for three-and-a-half years," Johnson said. "It hasn't always been an easy experience for [Britain]. It's been long, it's been painful, it's been divisive. And now is the moment for us as a country to come together. Now is the moment for our parliamentarians to come together and get this thing done."

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The DUP said it will reject the agreement -- and some members of Johnson's own party have said they won't vote for it, either, if the DUP isn't on board.

There could be some Labor Party defections, however, to give Johnson's prospects more weight. Lawmaker John Mann said he plans to vote for the deal.

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"It's a deal that's been agreed with the European Union, it's a two-side deal and that satisfies me," he said.

The Guardian reported Friday German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told EU leaders another extension is unavoidable if British lawmakers reject the new proposal.

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