THIS morning brought a fresh Brexit headache for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Presumably, he had some inkling that as has now been announced a new Brexit deal would be done with the EU today but before that could be announced, the Democratic Unionist Party announced that they could not back the current deal “as it stands”.
Following the formal announcement of what Mr Johnson dubbed a “great deal”, that “takes back control”, it was confirmed that the DUP position has not changed.
In a statement, the DUP said: “We have been involved in ongoing discussions with the Government.
“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.”
We will continue to work with the Government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.”
The Prime Minister will now face an uphill battle to win a Parliamentary majority when the new Agreement will be put to a vote in Parliament. The Eurosceptic European Reform Group could split with Jacob Rees-Mogg indicating he will support the deal but other so-called ‘Spartans’ such as Mark Francois, who was videoed leaving Number 10 in what can only be described as a foul mood, potentially siding with the DUP.
If the deal is to pass then Boris Johnson will need the support of around 320 MPs. He will, therefore, need the support of at least the DUP and all Conservative MPs (including the 21 who had the whip withdrawn).
If he cannot win that support he will need the support of a significant number of Labour rebels. Officially, Labour is unsurprisingly calling for the deal to be put to a second referendum. Saturday is promising to be yet another crunch day for Brexit…..