The BBC editor asked the EU Brexit chief negotiator whether the deal reached on Thursday between the UK and the Brussels bloc would be the EU’s final offer should MPs reject it in the Commons on Saturday. Ms Kuenssberg asked: “As you say we have all been here before, we have experience of this. If this deal doesn’t pass through Parliament, is this as far as the EU it is prepared to go? Is this finally the final deal?”
But Mr Barnier appeared to be far from impressed with the question.
He snapped: “Why are you asking me to answer questions that don’t arise?
“You can, of course, ask the questions but the one you’re asking is a hypothesis that Mr Johnson is not looking for and are don’t desire either.
“Because working on an agreement which is likely to meet approval ratification on both sides.
“We’ve had a line that we’ve set from the outset.
“An attitude – let me remind you to those who’ve come half-way through this very long period of three years – I’ve always avoided working or talking on the basis of national passion.
“Even though I note that sometimes that’s not been missing – emotion or passion – I worked on facts on the legal basis and reality to come up with objectives and legally solid operational response to the calculus problem thrown up by Brexit.
“Particularly across the border in Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
The announcement of a deal reached in Brussels came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was heading for a crunch EU summit and follows days of intense negotiations.
However, he is expected to face a tough task getting the agreement through Parliament.
With the Commons expected to sit on Saturday to discuss it – the first-weekend session for 37 years – the DUP insisted it still could not yet back the Government’s Brexit plans.
The stance of the DUP is important because the party wields influence over some Tory Brexiteers.
Announcing the deal on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.
“This new deal ensures that we £TakeBackControl of our laws, borders, money and trade without disruption & establishes a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation.
“This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks’ time, so we can then focus on the people’s priorities and bring the country back together again.
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“This new deal takes back control. Under the previous negotiation, Brussels maintained ultimate control and could have forced Britain to accept EU laws and taxes forever.
“We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.”
Mr Johnson added that the “anti-democratic” backstop had been abolished.
He tweeted: “The people of Northern Ireland will be in charge of the laws that they live by, and – unlike the backstop – will have the right to end the special arrangement if they so choose.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: “Where there is a will, there is a £deal – we have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that £EUCO endorses this deal.”
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