End­less talk im­plies it’s a no-no for BoJo

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - WORLD - STEPHEN DRILL IN WEST­MIN­STER

THe United King­dom’s Par­lia­ment was locked in an­gry de­bate last night over Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son’s new Brexit deal.

The PM man­aged to make a last-minute deal with Euro­pean lead­ers in Brus­sels on Thurs­day by cre­at­ing an ef­fec­tive cus­toms bor­der in the Ir­ish Sea.

Mr John­son opened the de­bate by claim­ing his deal can “heal the coun­try” — but the com­ments from MPs from all four coun­tries of the UK in­di­cated there were still deep wounds.

MPs from Scot­land, Wales and par­tic­u­larly North­ern Ire­land — where the Demo­cratic Union­ist Party was pre­vi­ously a vi­tal part of the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment — made it very clear they were against Mr John­son’s deal.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn claimed the deal would wreck the en­vi­ron­ment, trash man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try and see the UK swamped by “chlo­ri­nated chicken” from Don­ald Trump’s USA.

While the de­bate droned on, with seem­ingly ev­ery one of the more than 600 MPs want­ing to have their say, an omi­nous amend­ment hung over ev­ery word.

For­mer Tory turned in­de­pen­dent Sir Oliver Letwin has pro­posed a clever amend­ment that was also up for de­bate.

This would al­low par­lia­ment to with­hold ap­proval of any deal un­til the full leg­is­la­tion to im­ple­ment Brexit has passed through both houses of par­lia­ment.

This would ef­fec­tively mean a mas­sive de­lay to any Brexit and would ren­der any vote last night mean­ing­less.

Be­fore the de­bate be­gan, Con­ser­va­tives were warn­ing if the amend­ment was passed, de­bate would be shut off and ev­ery­one sent home.

Even The Sun, a fe­ro­cious sup­porter of Mr John­son and his deal, was gloom­ingly pre­dict­ing on its Brexit blog that the Letwin amend­ment would be passed.

How­ever, a fur­ther de­lay would give Mr John­son fur­ther im­pe­tus to call for a gen­eral elec­tion to break the par­lia­men­tary dead­lock.

Euro­pean lead­ers, while not want­ing to of­fer a fur­ther ex­ten­sion, are likely to agree if it is for an elec­tion or to hold another ref­er­en­dum on Brexit.

While the politi­cians talked end­lessly, tens of thou­sands of pro­test­ers marched through Lon­don.

Many were there to de­mand a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum but thou­sands also turned up to call for the Brexit deal to be passed.

Amid all the con­fu­sion there was one bright spot — Aus­tralia could be a big win­ner in a Brexit deal, open­ing the door to a block­buster new free trade agree­ment that would ben­e­fit farm­ers.

Pic­tures: Getty Im­ages, AFP

Boris John­son pleads with a packed par­lia­ment to pass his deal and pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit sup­port­ers massed out­side.

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