Briefing

Boris Johnson reaches Brexit deal with EU, but parliamentary support uncertain

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The U.K. prime minister said he believes he has the votes, but several opposition parties—including the Labour Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats—have expressed opposition to the deal. Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, is also criticizing the deal. For it to pass, Johnson will need hard-line Brexiteers in his own party, and at least some opposition MPs to break ranks. (The Guardian, BBC)

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Talking point: The new deal keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the EU for at least four years and prevents the need for a physical Northern Irish border, a major sticking point for deals negotiated by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May. However, it’s far from clear that this will be enough to pass Brexit once and for all. Johnson wanted a straight yes-or-no vote on his deal, but on Thursday, the House of Commons passed—by 285 votes to 277—a motion letting Parliament amend it. If this deal does pass, it will kick off negotiations around a trade pact between the EU and the U.K., the subject of much disagreement between parties. Amid all the parliamentary maneuvering, Britain’s parties are preparing for a possible snap election on the deal. Johnson himself spent part of Thursday touting plans to increase funding for education and law enforcement, issues on which his party plans to campaign if an election is called.