European and British negotiators struck a new Brexit deal on Thursday, but opposition leaders quickly slammed the agreement.
“This deal represents a very good deal both for the E.U. and the U.K.,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Brussels, according to The Washington Post. He urged British lawmakers to “come together to get Brexit done, to get this excellent deal over the line, and to deliver Brexit without any more delay.”
Under the deal, the United Kingdom would leave the European Union but leave Northern Ireland largely aligned with the EU. Details are yet to be ironed out about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as taxes, tariffs, and regulations.
Johnson said the deal would protect peace in Ireland and would mean that “Northern Ireland and every part of the U.K. can take part in not just free trade deals, offering our tariffs, exporting our goods around the world, but it also means we can take, together as a single United Kingdom, decisions about our future — our laws, our borders, our money and how we want to run the U.K.”
Ironically the deal would create a customs check within the UK. “British authorities will have to conduct customs checks in the Irish Sea for goods moving inside their own country, as Northern Ireland would remain locked into most E.U. regulations and trade rules,” The Post reported.
After four years, Northern Ireland lawmakers would be able to vote on how to proceed forward.
Opposition leaders say no deal:
The Democratic Unionist Party, a key part of the coalition Johnson would need to cobble together in Parliament to approve the deal, quickly came out against the new agreement.
“It is our view that these arrangements would not be in Northern Ireland’s long-term interests,” the DUP said. “Saturday’s vote in Parliament on the proposals will only be the start of a long process to get any withdrawal agreement bill through the House of Commons.”
Jeremy Corbin, the leader of the Labour Party, called the agreement an “even worse deal” than the previous one and that the “best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote.”
Calls for a new Brexit referendum:
Labour members of Parliament said they would push to attach an amendment to any deal that would require a second referendum to allow voters to say whether they still want to Brexit. Parliament previously voted on a second referendum in April but the measure failed by just 12 votes.
Peter Kyle, who is pushing for the amendment, told The New York Times that the deal struck by Johnson was a far harder break from the EU than anything proposed before the referendum or by former PM Theresa May.
“In 2016, people, yes, did vote to leave, but they didn’t vote how to leave,” said Labour member Phil Wilson.
Polls show that the majority of Britons would vote to stay in the EU.
“About 2.1 million young people have been added to the voting rolls since 2016, while a similar number of older people have died,” The Times noted. “Young people tend to favor staying in Europe, even if they are less conscientious voters, while a majority of older people voted to leave.”