Brexit deal agreed between UK and EU - but DUP not yet on board

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The UK has agreed a Brexit deal with the European Union - but doubts remain over whether it will pass through Parliament as the DUP is not yet on board.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted this morning: "We've got a great new deal that takes back control - now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment #GetBrexitDone #TakeBackControl."

While European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Where there is a will, there is a #deal - we have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that #EUCO endorses this deal."

The Prime Minister's offical spokesman said the deal agreed with the European Union "protects the union".

She told journalists in Westminster: "It is the best way forward for the UK. It is a deal that will take us out of the EU on October 31 and delivers for the country."

The Number 10 spokeswoman added that "today is a significant moment".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: PA

Mr Johnson is due to make a statement when he arrives in Brussels at about 12.30pm UK time, Downing Street confirmed.

Speaking at a press conference, European Commission chief negotiator, Michel Barnier said: "Throughout these negotiations the EU and UK were fully committed to protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland.

"Discussions over the past days have at times been difficult, but have delivered and we have delivered together."

In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, Mr Juncker wrote: "While I deeply regret the outcome of the referendum of 23 June 2016, I continue to believe that the European Union is best served by an orderly and amicable withdrawal of the United Kingdom from our Union.

"Our hand should always remain outstretched as the United Kingdom will remain a key partner of the European Union in the future.

"However, the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement has proven difficult in the United Kingdom. In order to help the United Kingdom's Prime Minister secure the necessary majority in the House of Commons, discussions with the United Kingdom resumed in early September this year.

"As regards the Withdrawal Agreement itself: negotiations focused on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and sought to identify a mutually satisfactory solution to address the specific circumstances on the island of Ireland."

The letter concludes: "The negotiators also discussed the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

"Their aim was to adjust the Political Declaration in a way that reflects the different level of ambition now sought by the Government of the United Kingdom for the country's future relationship with the European Union.

"The negotiators reached an agreement on a revised Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and on a revised Political Declaration on 17 October 2019.

"Both were endorsed by the European Commission. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom also signalled his approval of these documents to me today.

"Both texts are attached to this letter. I recommend that the European Council endorses the revised Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration at its forthcoming meeting.

"As I have indicated to you in the past, I believe it is high time to complete the withdrawal process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union's future partnership with the United Kingdom."

But despite this, the deal still needs to be passed by Parliament in a special sitting on Saturday. The key votes the Government needs from the DUP are not yet guaranteed, as the party signalled it was not on board with the deal.

Opposition parties are expected to try and amend the deal on Saturday to force a People's Vote.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected.

“These proposals risk triggering a race to the bottom on rights and protections: putting food safety at risk, cutting environmental standards and workers’ rights, and opening up our NHS to a takeover by US private corporations.

“This sell out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote.”

While Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson added: "The fight to stop Brexit is far from over.

"Boris Johnson’s deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

"The next few days will set the direction of our country for generations, and I am more determined than ever to stop Brexit.

"When this deal comes to Parliament we will use every possible opportunity to give the public a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal that includes the option to remain in the European Union."