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Johnson Scores One Brexit Win, but Clock Is Ticking

UK strikes deal with EU, but prime minister now must quickly sell it to his own parliament
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 17, 2019 8:50 AM CDT
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks out to greet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before their meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

(Newser) – Britain and the European Union finally reached a new tentative Brexit deal on Thursday, hoping to escape the acrimony, divisions, and frustration of their three-year divorce battle. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson now faces the Herculean task of selling the accord to his recalcitrant parliament—including his allies in Northern Ireland, per the AP. Only hours before Brussels hosted a summit of the bloc's 28 national leaders, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: "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." Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a "great new deal" and urged UK lawmakers to ratify it in a special session being held Saturday—only the first time since 1982 that British lawmakers have been at work on that day.

"This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks' time," Johnson tweeted. The pound hit a five-month high against the US dollar on the news. Yet immediately complicating matters was Johnson's Northern Irish government allies, who didn't waste a minute before announcing they could not back the tentative Brexit deal because of the way it handled the Irish border. Johnson, however, needs all the support he can get to push any Brexit deal past a deeply divided Parliament, and that knowledge tempered jubilation at the EU summit. The UK Parliament already rejected a previous Brexit deal crafted by former British Prime Minister Theresa May three times. The BBC sees a "titanic tussle" ahead for Johnson on Saturday.

(Read more Brexit stories.)

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