Boris Johnson Cheering About “Great New Deal” On Brexit After 28 Months Of Negotiations
Almost two and a half years after the United Kingdom voted in favour of leaving the European Union, a Brexit divorce deal has finally been brokered -- but will Boris Johnson be able to get it over the line?
The British Prime Minister announced the UK and the EU have agreed to a "great new deal" on Thursday night.
"We've got a great new deal that takes back control," he said on Twitter.
"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."
Only hours before the EU leaders' summit was set to begin in Brussels, European Commission president Jean Claude-Juncker said the two sides had reached a "fair and balanced" agreement.
"Where there is a will, there is a deal," he tweeted.
"It is a testament to our commitment to find solutions."
Though a deal now exists, it still needs to get approval in both the British and European parliaments. If Johnson is to avoid asking the EU for an extension to the end of October deadline, he will need approval by Saturday.
Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on October 31.
The agreement has also not received support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Union Party (DUP), which is critical if Johnson is to get majority support.
"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," said a DUP statement shared before the deal was brokered on Thursday.
Following the deal's announcement, a DUP spokesperson said the party's position hasn't changed.
The withdrawal agreement covers a range of things including, the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU and the backstop for the Irish border (that allows a free passage for people and goods from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland).
According to Juncker, the agreement "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 UK joined in 1973 (when it was known as the European Economic Community) and this departure marks the first member state to withdraw from the EU.
The decision to leave the EU has been a long and protracted one. A public vote - or referendum - was held on Thursday 23 June 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain.
Leave won by 52 percent to 48 percent and the referendum turnout was very high, with than 30 million people voting. This means 17.4 million people voted for Brexit.
Prime minister at the time of the vote, David Cameron, was a staunch “remainer” who campaigned against Brexit, citing that it would be like “economic self-harm” for the country. Cameron resigned soon after the results were clear.
Enter the next UK PM. Theresa May.
May took on the top job in July 2016, which was seen by many as a “glass cliff” position.
Brexit was originally due to happen in late March this year, two years after May triggered Article 50 - the formal process to leave - and kicked off negotiations.
However, the Brexit date has been delayed twice. A deal was agreed in November 2018, but MPs rejected it on three occasions. Their continued opposition eventually led to May's resignation.
READ MORE: Theresa May Resigns Amid Brexit Chaos
But many MPs were critical. They said if the backstop was used, the UK could be trapped in it for years. This would leave the UK stuck in the EU's customs union, preventing the country from striking trade deals with other countries.
Their opposition eventually led to Theresa May's resignation.
Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership election in July 2019 in order to seal his place as PM.
In his victory speech, the Conservative leader promised he would "deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn" (the leader of the Labour Party).
In September, Britain's Supreme Court ruled Johnson's five-week suspension of Parliament was unlawful, prompting the Speaker to send MPs back to work.
On Monday a new session of parliament started with the Queen's Speech -- where Elizabeth II set out the government's legislative agenda.
In anticipation of an imminent agreement this week, the pound jumped to its highest level in five months due to cautious optimism voiced by both sides that draft agreement could soon be reached.
More to come.