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Britain’s Johnson Hails New Brexit Deal With EU

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street in London on Tuesday.
Image credit: NurPhoto

Updated at 6:45 a.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he has reached an agreement with the European Union on a new Brexit deal that would allow the EU to continue collecting value-added tax from Northern Ireland and allow special treatment for certain goods going over the Irish border.

Johnson hailed the “new deal that takes back control,” and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called it a “fair and balanced agreement.”

But its reception among Johnson’s critics in the U.K. was less warm, likely foreshadowing the slim chances of the agreement making its way through Parliament.

Johnson’s Conservative Party does not have a majority in the House of Commons, His government faces an Oct. 31 deadline for Brexit after which the U.K. would leave without a deal — a move that many fear could be economically disastrous.

“From what we know, it seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected,” said Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, referring to Johnson’s predecessor as prime minister.

“This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected,” Corbyn said.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has argued against any “special status” for the province, quickly responded to news of a deal, saying it could not support the proposed agreement “as things stand.”

“[We] could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT,” the party’s leader, Arlene Foster and deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with the government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” Foster and Dodds said.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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