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PM does deal – now for 36 hours of frenetic phonecalls and promises to get it through the Commons

PM does deal – now for 36 hours of frenetic phonecalls and promises to get it through the Commons

brexit countdown_bgCreated with Sketch.Boris Johnson will today step up his  frantic effort to get his Brexit deal passed by MPs as he warned Tory hardliners they face being stripped of the party whip if they fail to get behind him.The Prime Minister faces a knife-edge Commons vote tomorrow on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ as he attempts to get a majority for his agreement without the support of the Democratic Unionist Party.Even if he gets the backing of all 287 Tory MPs, he will need to win over 33 others to get the 320 votes he needs for a majority.Early today, EU commission Jean-Claude Juncker warned if MPs fail to back the deal it would leave an  ‘extremely complicated situation’.Ministers led by Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove are mounting a major operation to get the backing of the 21 ex-Tories stripped of the whip last month over their attempt to block No Deal, as well as potential Labour rebels. Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at the European Commission headquarters EU Summit, Brussels, on Thursday The Prime Minister faces a knife-edge Commons vote tomorrow on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ as he attempts to get a majority for his agreement without the support of the Democratic Unionist Party British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center, is greeted by Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, center left, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at Downing Street on Thursday A smiling Boris Johnson, pictured centre, speaks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday at the EU summitMr Johnson is also understood to have been personally ringing around Tory backbenchers on his mobile to talk them through the proposals.Backbenchers were also invited to briefings on the deal hosted by ministers including Mr Gove, Home Secretary Miss Patel and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.And it is understood Mr Gove, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland held a meeting with 11 of the 21 MPs who lost the whip.The crunch vote will take place tomorrow as the Commons meets for the first time on a Saturday since the Falklands War. A graphic showing the votes the PM needs to pass his Brexit dealMr Johnson said last night: ‘I am very confident that when my colleagues in Parliament study this agreement they will want to vote for it on Saturday.’Now is the moment for our parliamentarians to come together and get this thing done.’Asked at a press conference in Brussels whether Tories who vote against a deal will be stripped of the whip, Mr Johnson said the vote will be taken ‘very seriously’ as he declined to answer the question directly.However, the Mail understands the Prime Minister has privately warned Eurosceptics they will be cast out of the party if they do not support a deal.EU leaders have refused to rule out granting another extension in a blow to Mr Johnson’s hopes of saying his proposals would be the only way of avoiding a No Deal Brexit, as reported by The Times.But one aide present at the summit said: ‘[Boris] was very, very, very clear on an extension. He said, ‘I’m not going to ask for one.’ He was insistent.’Some 28 members of the European Research Group (ERG) refused to back Theresa May’s deal when it was voted on for a third time in March, but even the most hardline Brexiteers yesterday signalled they could vote for an agreement this time.Peter Bone, Andrew Bridgen, Sir Bernard Jenkin and Andrea Jenkyns were among those suggesting they could support it. A buoyed Mr Johnson speaks with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured centre right, and other European leaders on Thursday This is how Boris Johnson could win over enough MPs to get his deal through Parliament. He faces a uphill struggle to win the vote on SaturdayMr Bridgen told - Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘It is a far better deal than Theresa May’s… I am very encouraged and the more I read the more I like it.’ So will they now eat their words of doom? November 15, 2018Theresa May, on the backstop in her deal: ‘There is no deal which delivers the Brexit the British people voted for which does not involve this insurance policy.’December 11, 2018Jean-Claude Juncker tells the European Parliament: ‘There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation.’January 15, 2019Irish government statement, after Mrs May’s deal is rejected by MPs: ‘The Irish government recalls the clear position of the European Council… when it stated that the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation.’January 29, 2019A spokesman for EU Council president Donald Tusk: ‘The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement, and the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation.’Also on January 29Guy Verhofstadt tells The Independent: ‘The European Parliament will not give its consent to a watered down withdrawal agreement. The deal we have is fair and cannot be renegotiated. The backstop… was crafted by the UK and the EU to secure the Good Friday Agreement.’May 28, 2019Before a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, Mr Juncker says: ‘I’ll have a short meeting with [Mrs] May, but I was crystal clear: There will be no renegotiation.’June 11, 2019Irish leader Leo Varadkar tells his parliament: ‘I am a little bit concerned some people in London think that because the Commons failed to ratify that [Theresa May’s] agreement that automatically means they are going to get a better one. That is a terrible political miscalculation.’June 21, 2019Mr Juncker says a new PM will not secure a renegotiation. ‘On Brexit there was nothing new… because we repeated [that] unanimously.’ Others such as Priti Patel, Theresa Villiers and James Duddridge are now ministers so will be expected to vote for it.Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, who used to lead the ERG, yesterday called on all its members to back the deal.Speaking in the Commons, he said: ‘All Eurosceptics – all my friends who sit where I used to sit – can rally around this great deal’It is a really good exciting deal that takes out the undemocratic backstop, delivers on what the Prime Minister promised he would do. ‘In 85 days he has achieved something which could not be achieved in three years.’Asked in Brussels whether the 21 MPs would have the whip restored if they back the deal, Mr Johnson said: ‘It is a big and important vote and we will be making further announcements about that in due course. There are a series of votes.’Six of the group – Richard Benyon, Greg Clark, Stephen Hammond, Richard Harrington, Sir Oliver Letwin and Sir Nicholas Soames – yesterday indicated they were planning to vote for the deal.Sir Nicholas told - Newsnight: ‘My quarrel with the Prime Minister was over nothing except for No Deal. So there is a deal, and I will vote for it and so will many of my colleagues who had the whip taken away from them.’It’s been a very painful time – not just for Parliament, but for the country. Families have split. Businesses have split. ‘The country is split, which is why Parliament is split. ‘And it is, therefore time I think to say that this is the end of a very painful time.’He added: ‘I think the Prime Minister needs to make plain he regards this as a healing deal – as an opportunity to try and heal the rifts in the House and in parties elsewhere, and to put out a hand to all parties to come together on this.’He continued: ‘It’s not a great deal, this isn’t a great deal, but it’s not a bad deal. I think you can assume that the 21 will by and large vote for it.’Asked yesterday what would happen if the Commons votes down the deal, Mr Gove told Sky News: ‘We don’t contemplate defeat.’A No10 spokesman said: ‘We want all MPs to support it. The PM believes this is the best way forward for the whole of the UK.’It protects the union, it removes the backstop and deals with the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland and MPs this weekend have an opportunity to back a deal that means the UK leaving the EU in an orderly way on October 31.’   Chris Hughes, Account Director at Cicero Global, tweeted a table showing all the possible scenarios on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ in the Commons What is happening on Saturday? Proceedings in the Commons will kick off at 9.30am with a statement from the Prime Minister giving an update on the Brussels summit. At some point, MPs will vote on his deal. The sitting can run until any time with no set finish time. The Lords will meet at 11am.Will the deal pass?The Democratic Unionist Party won’t support it – making it more difficult for the Prime Minister to get the 320 votes for a majority. All 287 Tory MPs have been warned they will lose the whip if they do not back him, with hardline Brexiteers who voted down Theresa May’s deal expected to cave in. This leaves Mr Johnson needing another 33 MPs, which he is hoping to make up from 21 ex-Tories who lost the whip attempting to block No Deal and Labour rebels.So it’s a Yes or No vote?Potentially not. Rebel MPs are looking at the possibility of amending Mr Johnson’s deal so that he is forced to seek a Brexit extension beyond October 31 – even if his agreement has been passed. Votes on any amendments will take place ahead of the main vote on the deal. Campaigners for a second referendum were plotting to force Mr Johnson to hold a confirmatory public vote on his deal, but they are thought to have dropped this plan as they do not think they have the numbers for it to pass. The SNP last night tabled an amendment demanding a Brexit delay until at least February 2020 and a general election.What happens next if the deal passes?A vote for the deal will fire the starting gun on a frantic rush in Parliament to pass all the legislation needed for Brexit to happen on October 31. MPs and peers could be expected to sit around the clock and at weekends in order to get the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through in time. Downing Street yesterday insisted it was ‘confident’ there is enough time to pass the legislation without the need for a ‘technical extension’ that could see Brexit delayed by just a couple of weeks so everything is in place. The European Parliament will also be asked to approve the deal…. and if it’s rejected?Under the terms of the Benn Act, which was passed by rebel MPs last month, Mr Johnson is required to send a letter to Brussels requesting a delay to Brexit beyond October 31 if a deal is not passed by the end of tomorrow. The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted he will not seek for an extension, but he could be forced to by the courts if he refuses. The most likely outcome is that the Government is forced to request a Brexit extension and then Mr Johnson calls a general election and asks voters to give him enough MPs so that he can finally pass his deal. Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he will back an election once No Deal on October 31 is off the table.Another extension?Although European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker appeared to rule out another extension yesterday, European Council leader Donald Tusk refused to do so. Ultimately, the decision rests with EU leaders and it is likely an extension of some sort would be granted to avoid a No Deal scenario. ‘Come together’ and get it done: Boris takes his battle back to Westminster with call for MPs’ backing after securing last-gasp Brexit deal against all the oddsBoris Johnson last night urged MPs to ‘come together’ and get Brexit done after securing an extraordinary last-minute deal.In a remarkable turnaround, the Prime Minister agreed a deal with the EU which scraps the hated Irish backstop and leaves the UK free to strike trade deals around the world.Tomorrow he will put the deal to MPs on a historic Saturday sitting of Parliament as he continues a frantic dash to keep his pledge to take Britain out of the European Union by October 31.In Brussels last night, Mr Johnson delivered an emphatic message to MPs, saying: ‘It hasn’t always been an easy experience for the UK. In Brussels last night, Mr Johnson delivered an emphatic message to MPs, saying: ‘It hasn’t always been an easy experience for the UK’It has been long, it has been painful, it has been divisive, and now is the moment for us as a country to come together. Channel 4’s ‘irresponsible’ IRA interview Channel 4 News has been branded ‘recklessly irresponsible’ for giving the New IRA a platform to make terror threats over Brexit.The broadcaster has been accused of giving ‘self-confessed murderers’ the ‘oxygen of publicity’ after it interviewed a masked spokesman for the group.Voiced by an actor, he told Wednesday’s programme any Brexit border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic ‘would be a legitimate target for attack and armed actions against those infrastructures and against the people who are manning them’.Appearing on the programme Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told presenter Cathy Newman: ‘I think the fact that you put those terror groups on your programme… is deeply irresponsible. They are a fringe group that barely represent themselves on the island of Ireland.’ Speaking to the Daily Mail yesterday, he added: ‘These terrorists don’t need an excuse to cause mayhem and murder, that’s what they do. Channel 4 shouldn’t give them either a platform or an excuse to latch on to.’A Channel 4 News spokesman said that the interview had been of ‘overwhelming public interest at a vital time’. ‘Now this is the moment for our parliamentarians to come together and get this thing done.’The deal came at a price, with Mr Johnson’s DUP allies refusing to back it and accusing the PM of ‘driving a coach and horses’ through the Good Friday Agreement. The loss of ten DUP MPs leaves him facing an uphill struggle to win tomorrow’s vote.Allies of Mr Johnson believe his strenuous efforts will play well with an electorate desperate to get the tortuous Brexit process over, even if his deal is defeated by MPs.They are gearing up for an election within weeks in which Mr Johnson will urge the public to give him a majority to finally deliver Brexit.But David Cameron’s former spin chief, Sir Craig Oliver, warned the strategy was high-risk, saying: ‘I suspect Boris Johnson and his team think they have the numbers to pass the deal without the DUP – but even if they don’t, they get to run a populist election campaign, which should be enough. But it’s so volatile a change of just a few points could be disastrous.’Last night a concerted effort was under way to woo Labour MPs in Leave-voting areas to back the deal in return for guarantees on workers’ rights and environmental standards. Allies of the PM believe he needs to win the support of 15 Labour MPs to have a chance of victory.European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker also turned up the pressure on MPs, saying ‘there will be no prolongation’, after holding talks with Mr Johnson. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker also turned up the pressure on MPs, saying ‘there will be no prolongation’, after holding talks with Mr JohnsonIn another bid to ramp up the pressure, senior Tories made it clear that Eurosceptic hardliners who voted against the deal would have the whip withdrawn.Whips have also indicated that the 21 Tory MPs kicked out last month for helping rule out No Deal could be invited back in if they help push the deal through Parliament.The breakthrough came as:Jeremy Corbyn came under fire after urging Labour MPs to reject the deal before he had even read it;Business leaders urged Parliament to back the deal, with the Institute of Directors warning MPs to avoid the ‘damage a disorderly exit could cause’;Remainer plans to force through a second referendum tomorrow collapsed into chaos and infighting;European Parliament chief David Sassoli said he was ‘confident’ MEPs would approve the plan;It emerged that the final sticking point was Mr Johnson’s insistence that Britain secure the right to scrap the hated ‘tampon tax’ throughout the UK;Nigel Farage faced ridicule after suggesting it would be better to delay Brexit than back Mr Johnson’s deal.Downing Street said Mr Johnson had confounded his critics who said he was interested only in No Deal. A senior source said: ‘We were told that the EU would never reopen the Withdrawal Agreement. We were told it was impossible to replace the backstop. We were told Northern Ireland could not leave the customs union. The PM has achieved all of those things and more. The DUP’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds (left) criticised the PM, saying: ‘He has been too eager by far to get a deal at any cost. If he held his nerve and held out he would have got better concessions that kept the integrity of the UK”This gets Great Britain totally out, with special arrangements for Northern Ireland covered by democratic consent. We are taking back control.’ Nigel Farage: It’d be better to delay Brexit Nigel Farage claimed it would be better to delay Brexit than to accept Boris Johnson’s deal with Brussels.The Brexit Party leader savaged the compromise agreed between the Prime Minister and the EU at a summit yesterday. He even appeared to back the law which will force Mr Johnson to delay Britain’s departure from the EU.Under the so-called Benn Act, the UK must ask for an extension to the Brexit timetable to January next year should a deal not be passed by October 19. Mr Farage, who favours No Deal, tweeted after EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said there should be no ‘prolongation’ of Britain’s departure.It prompted Mr Farage to call Mr Juncker ‘an unelected, retiring bureaucrat’, adding: ‘He is overriding the Benn Act. The EU shows itself to be a thuggocracy – power without accountability.’ Earlier yesterday, Mr Farage told Sky News: ‘Look, I would much rather we had an extension and a chance of a general election than accept this dreadful new EU treaty.’MPs are set to vote on the 11th hour agreement in an historic session in the Commons tomorrow. A deal passing would remove the Brexit Party’s reason to exist at the next election. Mr Farage has previously suggested the Tories enter an electoral pact with his party.He said yesterday: ‘If withdrawal agreement four fails on Saturday, as I believe it will, I think then Boris Johnson as Prime Minister would drop the idea of this new treaty and there is a possibility of putting together a Leave alliance for the next general election. I think there is an opportunity here for a Brexit alliance… that would win a big majority in Parliament.’But a senior Tory source said Mr Farage was ‘only interested in an outcome that maximises his electoral opportunities – not what delivers for Britain’. The new deal strips out the controversial Irish backstop and replaces it with a complex deal for Northern Ireland designed to prevent a hard border. Under the terms of the agreement, the province will remain aligned with single market rules for all goods and will have to levy the same rate of VAT as the Irish Republic. It will also have to accept customs checks on goods arriving from the rest of the UK – effectively a customs border in the Irish Sea, which Mr Johnson once vowed to oppose.But, crucially, the EU also agreed to a form of democratic consent, which will give Northern Ireland the opportunity to leave the arrangement every four years if a majority in the devolved Stormont Parliament vote for it. Mr Johnson said it was ‘an excellent deal for Northern Ireland’.But the DUP’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds criticised the PM, saying: ‘He has been too eager by far to get a deal at any cost. If he held his nerve and held out he would have got better concessions that kept the integrity of the UK.’Mr Johnson said he was ‘very confident’ of getting the deal through. But privately, aides admit they face a fierce battle.One senior source said: ‘MPs should get Brexit done, but they are too mad – they’re bound to vote it down.’Failure to win the vote would leave the PM on collision course with Parliament and the courts over the controversial law that will force him to seek an extension if he has not got a deal by tomorrow night.But last night there were signs that the 28 Eurosceptic ‘Spartan’ MPs – who voted down Theresa May’s deal three times – were warming to the agreement. Andrew Bridgen, of the European Research Group, said he was willing to back the deal despite the DUP’s opposition.He said: ‘This is far more palatable to me. It looks like Brexit, it smells like Brexit. That’s Brexit for me.’Sir Nicholas Soames, one of the 21 Tories expelled last month, said he would back the deal, and predicted most of the group would do the same.Rotherham MP Kevin Barron last night became the first Labour MP to publicly back the deal.

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