HE’S DONE HIS DUTY. NOW MPs MUST DO THEIRS

Against all odds, Boris has won a new Brexit deal — yet to­mor­row our reck­less po­lit­i­cal class may de­rail it. So to­day the Mail says...

Daily Mail - - Front Page - From Ja­son Groves and David Churchill in Brus­sels

BORIS John­son last night urged MPs to ‘come to­gether’ and get Brexit done af­ter se­cur­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary last-minute deal.

In a re­mark­able turn­around, the Prime Min­is­ter agreed a deal with the EU which scraps the hated Ir­ish back­stop and leaves the UK free to strike trade deals around the world. To­mor­row he will put the deal to MPs on a his­toric Satur­day sit­ting of Par­lia­ment as he con­tin­ues a fran­tic dash to keep his pledge to take Bri­tain out of the Euro­pean Union by Oc­to­ber 31.

In Brus­sels last night, Mr John­son de­liv­ered an em­phatic mes­sage to MPs, say­ing: ‘It hasn’t al­ways been an easy ex­pe­ri­ence for the UK.

‘It has been long, it has been painful, it has been

di­vi­sive, and now is the mo­ment for us as a coun­try to come to­gether.

‘Now this is the mo­ment for our par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to come to­gether and get this thing done.’

The deal came at a price, with Mr John­son’s DUP al­lies re­fus­ing to back it and ac­cus­ing the PM of ‘driv­ing a coach and horses’ through the Good Fri­day Agree­ment. The loss of ten DUP MPs leaves him with an up­hill strug­gle to win to­mor­row’s vote.

Al­lies of Mr John­son be­lieve his stren­u­ous ef­forts will play well with an elec­torate des­per­ate to get the tor­tu­ous Brexit process over, even if his deal is de­feated by MPs.

They are gear­ing up for an elec­tion within weeks in which Mr John­son will urge the pub­lic to give him a ma­jor­ity to fi­nally de­liver Brexit.

But David Cameron’s for­mer spin chief, Sir Craig Oliver, warned the strat­egy was high-risk, say­ing: ‘I sus­pect Boris John­son and his team think they have the num­bers to pass the deal with­out the DUP – but even if they don’t, they get to run a pop­ulist elec­tion cam­paign, which should be enough. But it’s so volatile a change of just a few points could be dis­as­trous.’

Last night, a con­certed ef­fort was un­der way to woo Labour MPs in Leave-vot­ing ar­eas to back the deal in re­turn for guar­an­tees on work­ers’ rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards. Al­lies of the PM be­lieve he needs to win the sup­port of 15 Labour MPs.

Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent Jean- Claude Juncker also turned up the pres­sure on MPs, say­ing ‘there will be no pro­lon­ga­tion’, af­ter hold­ing talks with Mr John­son. The break­through came as: Jeremy Cor­byn was crit­i­cised for urg­ing Labour MPs to re­ject the deal be­fore he had had enough time to read it thor­oughly;

Busi­ness lead­ers urged Par­lia­ment to back the deal, with the In­sti­tute of Direc­tors warn­ing MPs to avoid the ‘dam­age a dis­or­derly exit could cause’;

Re­mainer plans to force through a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum to­mor­row col­lapsed into chaos and in­fight­ing;

Euro­pean Par­lia­ment chief David Sas­soli said he was ‘ con­fi­dent’ MEPs would ap­prove the plan;

It emerged that the fi­nal stick­ing point was Mr John­son’s in­sis­tence that Bri­tain se­cure the right to scrap the hated ‘ tam­pon tax’ through­out the UK;

Nigel Farage faced ridicule af­ter sug­gest­ing it would be bet­ter to de­lay Brexit than back Mr John­son’s deal.

Down­ing Street said Mr John­son had con­founded his crit­ics who said he was in­ter­ested only in No Deal. A se­nior source said: ‘We were told that the EU would never re­open the with­drawal agree­ment. We were told it was im­pos­si­ble to re­place the back­stop. We were told North­ern Ire­land could not leave the cus­toms union. The PM has achieved all of those things and more.

‘ This gets Great Bri­tain to­tally out, with spe­cial ar­range­ments for North­ern Ire­land cov­ered by demo­cratic con­sent. We are tak­ing back con­trol.’

The new deal strips out the con­tro­ver­sial Ir­ish back­stop and re­places it with a com­plex deal for North­ern Ire­land de­signed to pre­vent a hard bor­der. Un­der the terms of the agree­ment, the prov­ince will re­main aligned with sin­gle mar­ket rules for all goods and will have to levy the same rate of VAT as the Ir­ish Re­pub­lic. It will also have to ac­cept cus­toms checks on goods ar­riv­ing from the rest of the UK – ef­fec­tively a cus­toms bor­der in the Ir­ish Sea, which Mr John­son once vowed to op­pose.

But, cru­cially, the EU also agreed to a form of demo­cratic con­sent, which will give North­ern Ire­land the op­por­tu­nity to leave the ar­range­ment ev­ery four years if a ma­jor­ity in the de­volved Stor­mont Par­lia­ment vote for it. Mr John­son said it was ‘an ex­cel­lent deal for North­ern Ire­land’.

The Prime Min­is­ter said he was ‘very con­fi­dent’ of get­ting the deal through. But pri­vately, aides ad­mit they face a fierce bat­tle.

One se­nior source said: ‘MPs should get Brexit done, but they are too mad – they’re bound to vote it down.’

Fail­ure to win the vote would leave the PM on col­li­sion course with Par­lia­ment and the courts over the con­tro­ver­sial law that will force him to seek an ex­ten­sion if he has not got a deal by to­mor­row night.

But last night there were signs that the 28 Euroscep­tic ‘Spar­tan’ MPs – who voted down Theresa May’s deal three times – were warm­ing to the agree­ment. An­drew Bridgen, of the Euro­pean Re­search Group, said he was will­ing to back the deal.

Sir Ni­cholas Soames, one of the 21 Tories ex­pelled last month, said he would back the deal, and pre­dicted most of the group would do the same.

Rother­ham MP Kevin Bar­ron last night be­came the first Labour MP to pub­licly back the deal.

Your coun­try needs you: Boris John­son in Brus­sels yes­ter­day

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