‘UK MPs will back deal with Brus­sels’

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By David Hughes

AGREE­MENT on a Brexit deal with Brus­sels will cre­ate a ‘new dy­namic’ in the British par­lia­ment which would help se­cure sup­port for Theresa May’s plans, a key ally of hers has claimed.

As the DUP threat­ened to vote against any deal that has the po­ten­tial to cre­ate a bor­der in the Ir­ish Sea, David Lid­ing­ton, Mrs May’s de facto deputy prime min­is­ter, said he hoped that once a deal was on the ta­ble MPs would rally be­hind it.

At­tend­ing the British-Ir­ish Coun­cil sum­mit in the Isle of Man with Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar, Mr Lid­ing­ton said a UK-EU deal would in­volve ‘com­pro­mises, give and take on all sides’.

How­ever, when faced with ‘prod­uct on the ta­ble’ in the form of an agree­ment backed by all 28 gov­ern­ments, there could be a shift in at­ti­tude at West­min­ster, he pre­dicted.

‘Peo­ple will need to ask them­selves what is it that is go­ing to be in the best in­ter­ests of those who sent them to West­min­ster to rep­re­sent them, to en­sure that we main­tain liv­ing stan­dards and in­vest­ment and pros­per­ity and em­ploy­ment in our coun­try,’ he said. ‘I hope and I be­lieve that we can se­cure that ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment for the agree­ment.’

How­ever, Mr Lid­ing­ton’s words were un­der­mined hours later when the British min­is­ter of state for trans­port, Jo John­son, re­signed from Mrs May’s gov­ern­ment in protest at her Brexit plan. De­spite be­ing a brother of for­mer UK for­eign sec­re­tary Boris John­son – a firm Brex­i­teer – Jo John­son had cam­paigned for Re­main in the ref­er­en­dum. He said the UK faced a choice be­tween ‘vas­salage’ un­der her pro­posed deal or the ‘chaos’ of crash­ing out of the EU.

In a blog, he wrote: ‘It has be­come in­creas­ingly clear to me that the with­drawal agree­ment, which is be­ing fi­nalised in Brus­sels and White­hall even as I write, will be a ter­ri­ble mis­take. In­deed, the choice be­ing pre­sented to the British peo­ple is no choice at all.’

Boris John­son backed his brother’s de­ci­sion, say­ing: ‘We may not have agreed about Brexit but we are united in dis­may at the in­tel­lec­tu­ally and po­lit­i­cally in­de­fen­si­ble of the UK po­si­tion.’

Re­signed: Jo John­son

Op­ti­mist: David Lid­ing­ton

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