The new Brexit deal is essentially the old Brexit deal with a new chapter on the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland and a few key tweaks to the political declaration. The main protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland runs to just 15 pages – 64 pages including the annexes – and restates the commitment to all the baseline elements on the Good Friday agreement, the common travel area and other rights contained in Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement of 2018. Here is a link to the full text with a summary of the key new points below. The backstop is replaced Overall the backstop has essentially been replaced by a full stop whereby Northern Ireland remains aligned to the EU from the end of the transition period for at least four years. A change can only happen if it is voted on by the Stormont assembly (more of that later). As Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s chief negotiator in the Good Friday agreement, tweeted: “The funny side of the No 10 claim they have got … [Read more...] about How is Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal different from Theresa May’s?
Brexit deal summary
Top story: PM gambles on success without unionists Hello, Warren Murray with you as the Briefing week draws to a close. Boris Johnson has insisted he is “very confident” his Brexit deal will be approved after it is presented to the House of Commons tomorrow. For the latest, head straight to our live blog. The arithmetic looks daunting for the PM after the Democratic Unionists (DUP) insisted they could not support the government’s position. “I want to stress that this is a great deal for our country, for the UK; I also believe that it is a very good deal for our friends in the EU,” Johnson said at the European council in Brussels where EU leaders gave the nod. Johnson’s deal differs principally from Theresa May’s by swapping the Irish border “backstop” for a four-year customs alignment between Northern Ireland and the EU. Northern Ireland would be legally in the UK customs territory but practically in the EU customs unions. A complex … [Read more...] about Friday briefing: Brexit deal comes down to numbers
Top story: EU leaders ‘ready to strike agreement’ Hello, I’m Warren Murray, and with introductions out of the way, here is the news. We should find out this morning whether Boris Johnson has secured the Democratic Unionist party’s backing for his newly negotiated Brexit deal, centred on a “customs border in the Irish Sea”. Your first port of call for news in that vein should be our live blog which is already up and running. EU leaders have said they are ready to approve the agreement today at the leaders’ summit in Brussels if the prime minister succeeds. Plans to publish a full legal text ahead of the summit were put on hold yesterday because of the unionists’ objections. The prime minister is due to travel to Brussels and, if able to secure a deal, he would try to pass it through parliament on Saturday. He would need to rope in DUP support, along with up to 21 Tory rebels whom he ordered expelled from the party, and may have to resort … [Read more...] about Thursday briefing: Ready to make a deal – but DUP deals the cards
Soft-Brexit Tory MPs and independents are resisting the idea of attaching a customs union to Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement bill, meaning it would likely need an alliance of all opposition parties to pass. Conservative MPs and former Tories, who previously backed the idea of a customs union, suggested on Tuesday they would prefer not to reopen the issue and wanted to support Johnson’s deal. Damian Green, the leader of the One Nation caucus, and Oliver Letwin, who has is heavily involved in the parliamentary fight against a no-deal Brexit, both indicated they would back Johnson’s deal without a customs union appended. However, Johnson is still facing the prospect that Labour could ally with enough opposition and independent MPs to amend his bill in favour of a softer Brexit. Labour said on Sunday it would try to win support from the Democratic Unionist party and other opposition MPs for attaching a customs union to Johnson’s Brexit legislation. The DUP has … [Read more...] about Tory MPs reluctant to attach customs union to Brexit bill
We cannot stand much more of this. The national blood pressure has reached danger point. Can our political class really not grasp that they are no longer free to behave as if they were playing teenage games in a college debating society? Each repeated failure by Parliament to agree on an orderly exit from the EU puts more strain on our constitution. Faith in the House of Commons as a place of wisdom, experience and responsibility, already weakening, has almost entirely gone. Nor will it quickly recover. As the Prime Minister so rightly said during yesterday’s debate, the behaviour of MPs is corroding the public’s trust. Much more of this, and our whole tradition of parliamentary politics may be in danger. There is a feverish, short-tempered mood abroad in the country and it would be unwise for anyone to ignore it. MPs in the House of Commons debate Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal yesterday Here are some simple points for anyone in Parliament who still thinks the … [Read more...] about MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Can’t our political class grasp this isn’t a game and they’re not in a college debating society?