MPs urged to vote for Brexit deal as power rests in Commons' hands

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the European Council summit at EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the European Council summit at EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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Pressure has been piled onto MPs to back Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal in a historic vote tomorrow as the Prime Minister reached a last minute deal with the EU.

Speaking yesterday the Prime Minister said it was time to “get this thing done” after EU leaders approved the departure agreement hammered out shortly before the key summit began yesterday.

And he said: “I am very confident that when my colleagues in Parliament study this agreement that they will want to vote for it on Saturday and in succeeding days.”

Earlier European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned there would be no further extension to Article 50, seeming to try and push parliamentarians to support the PM.

But the numbers looked tight and Mr Johnson faces an uphill battle to get the deal backed after his key and influential allies in the DUP rejected it. If MPs vote down the deal Mr Johnson is bound by the Benn Act to write to the EU to ask for an extension.

And although Mr Juncker appeared to rule that out earlier in the day, European Council President Donald Tusk said: “I have no idea what will be the result on Saturday, and it’s not for me to comment, but if there is a request for an extension I will consult with other member states to see how they react.”

Mr Johnson said last night the Brexit deal means the UK can come out of the European Union as “one United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, together”.

And he said: “I am very confident that when my colleagues in Parliament study this agreement that they will want to vote for it on Saturday and in succeeding days. This is our chance in the UK as democrats to get Brexit done, and come out on October 31.”

Some Labour MPs have already signalled they would defy party leader Jeremy Corbyn and vote for the deal, including Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron. Yorkshire MPs Caroline Flint, Dan Jarvis, Sarah Peacock, and Melanie Onn also put their name to a letter earlier in the month which said if a deal was brought before Parliament “our votes will be decisive in determining the approval of that deal”.

Government officials will now be doing the maths to see if the votes stack up ahead on tomorrow’s showdown.

Sheffield Central MP Labour MP Paul Blomfield said: “This is a big step backwards.”

He added: “It’s absolutely worse than Theresa May’s deal and there’s no reason why anyone who voted against that would vote for this.”

But Graham Stuart, Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness said “Securing a deal with the EU is a phenomenal acheivement for Boris Johnson. On Saturday MPs need to vote it through and stop trying to frustrate the greatest democratic decision in this nation’s history.”

Mr Corbyn trashed the deal earlier in the day, saying: “This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected.”

While Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said: “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.”

Meanwhile when finishing a press conference in Brussels yesterday the EU appeared to suggest the possibility of the UK returning to the EU in the future. Mr Tusk said: “For our British friends, our door will always be open.”

While Irish Premier Leo Varadkar said: “There will always be a place at the table for the UK if they ever chose to come back” from Leo Varadkar.

But Mr Juncker added he would like to tell the 48 per cent of UK people who voted to remain in the EU that they were right.