Tomorrow at a special sitting in the House of Commons, MPs will get a chance to vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. What few believed achievable or even desirable came about yesterday, an agreement between Boris Johnson’s Tory government and the EU. Even among his supporters, many doubted his ability and willingness to strike a deal. His ‘get rid of the backstop’ and “get Brexit done’ mantras appeared to be mere slogans for the upcoming ‘Brexit general election’. In the EU, Boris Johnson’s credibility appeared shaky, too.
So, what are we to make of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal? Will he follow in Teresa May’s footsteps and see a hard-earned deal cast aside in the House of Commons? Reactions have been swift and predominantly negative.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – reaction from the opposition
On Saturday, vote four on the withdrawal agreement will take place in the commons. With the DUP having already withdrawn support, Johnson will be scrambling for votes to get the deal across the line. Judging from comments from other political parties, the likelihood of a successful outcome is marginal.
The Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn was swift in expressing his opposition to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. It remains outside the Labour party’s red lines which includes the protection of workers’ rights. According to John McDonnell, Johson has ‘sold out virtually every sector of our economy & all those who may have voted to leave believing a deal could be secured that protected their jobs.’ Corbyn himself labelled the deal worse than Teresa May’s. In this context, it is difficult to see how any Labour MP would vote with the Tory government in Saturday’s crucial vote.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats already expect the House of Commons to reject this deal, calling yet again for a People’s Vote. At their party conference, the LibDems voted to enter the general election campaign on a ‘withdraw Article 50’ platform and have the UK remain within the EU. Jo Swinson told a reporter outside the chamber that ‘the only way that it would be able to be resolved…..is through having a People’s Vote.’
The Scottish National Party has been opposed to Brexit from the beginning and will vote against Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal because it is ‘detrimental to Scotland’s interests.’
Tory MPs who lost the whip
According to a report in i News, the group of 21 MPs whom Johnson purged from the party after they supported the Benn Act are set to support the PM’s deal. Although it is unclear whether each and every one of them will rally behind Johnson, this group will bolster the PMs numbers.
The European Research Group whose members voted against May’s deal each time have welcomed Johnson’s deal and will support it in the commons. People like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Andrew Bridgen have welcomed to deal as the way to finally get the UK out of the EU. However, according to some, this support has a sting in its tail. On Twitter, Caroline Lucas from the Green Party pointed out that the deal on offer is merely delaying No Deal by 14 months. Completing trade talks within that period is nigh impossible, so no deal follows. She concluded her Tweet with ‘No wonder the ERG minded to support……’.
According to the Financial Times, the majority of independent MPs will vote against the deal, and so will the Independent Group for Change with five votes.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal – scrambling for votes and number-crunching
Just like Teresa May before him, Boris Johnson and his supporters will try to garner support for their version of the Withdrawal Agreement. The vote is likely to be tight with the FT predicting a 318-321 defeat for the government. Will this be yet another commons vote Johnson loses?