Brexit on a knife edge as PM Johnson stakes all on ‘Super Saturday’ vote

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s exit from the European Union hung on a knife-edge on Friday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrambled to steer doubters to rally behind his last-minute European Union divorce deal in a rare vote in parliament.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures throughout a information convention on the European Union leaders summit dominated by Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

In one of the crucial placing thrives of the three-year Brexit drama, Johnson confounded his opponents on Thursday by clinching a new cope with the EU, despite the fact that the bloc had promised it might by no means reopen a treaty it agreed final yr.

Yet Johnson, the face of the Brexit marketing campaign within the 2016 referendum, should now ratify the deal within the British parliament the place he has no majority and opponents are plotting most political harm forward of an imminent election.

The numbers are too near name: Johnson should garner 318 votes within the 650-seat parliament to get a deal authorised. Yet his Northern Irish allies are against a deal and the three important opposition events have pledged to vote it down.

“We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control — now parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday,” Johnson stated forward of the primary Saturday sitting of parliament for the reason that 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.

If he wins the vote, Johnson will go down in historical past as the chief who delivered Brexit – for good or unhealthy. If he fails, Johnson will face the humiliation of Brexit unraveling after repeatedly promising that he would get it achieved.

Goldman Sachs stated it thought the deal would cross and raised its estimate of Brexit with a deal on Oct. 31 to 65% from 60%. It minimize its odds on a no-deal departure to 10% from 15% and saved unchanged its 25% chance of no Brexit.

The pound held at five-month highs of $1.2874 in opposition to the greenback, down from Thursday’s peak of $1.2988.

Johnson received the highest job by staking his profession on getting Brexit achieved by the newest deadline of Oct. 31 after his predecessor, Theresa May, was pressured to delay the departure date. Parliament rejected her deal 3 times, by margins of between 58 and 230 votes.

Downing Street is casting the Saturday vote as a final probability to get Brexit achieved with lawmakers dealing with the choice of both approving the deal or propelling the United Kingdom to a disorderly no-deal exit that would divide the West, harm world development and set off violence in Northern Ireland.


To win the vote, Johnson should persuade sufficient Brexit-supporting rebels in each his personal Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party to again his deal.

Concerned in regards to the potential affect of a no-deal departure, Johnson’s opponents have already handed a legislation demanding he delay Brexit except he will get a withdrawal deal authorised by Saturday.

The authorities has stated each that it’ll adjust to this legislation and that Britain will go away the EU on Oct. 31 no matter occurs. Johnson has not defined how he plans to take these two apparently contradictory steps.

The message from Johnson’s advisers is: “New deal or no deal but no delay.”

The prime minister was as a result of maintain a cupboard assembly at 1500 GMT on Friday.

As lawmakers mull one of many United Kingdom’s most vital geopolitical strikes since World War Two, lots of of hundreds of demonstrators are as a result of march in the direction of parliament demanding one other referendum on EU membership.

Parliament will sit from 0830 GMT on Saturday. Johnson will make a assertion to lawmakers, after which there shall be a debate after which a vote. The debate was initially scheduled to final 90 minutes, however is now not time-limited.


The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) stated it might oppose the deal and foyer a faction of round 28 hardline Brexit supporters within the Conservative Party to do the identical.

“We will be encouraging (other lawmakers to vote against) because we believe it does have an impact on the unity of the United Kingdom, will spark further nationalist sentiment in Scotland and will be detrimental to the economy of Northern Ireland,” the DUP’s Sammy Wilson stated.

“Voting this down tomorrow is not the end of the game, in fact it probably opens up possibilities for the government which are not available at present after a general election.”

Without the DUP’s 10 votes, Johnson will want Brexit-supporting Labour Party rebels to assist his deal.

Saturday’s vote shall be “pretty close” however doubtless simply fall in need of approval, stated John McDonnell, the second strongest individual within the Labour Party.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“I don’t believe it will pass, I think it will be defeated but… the numbers are going to be pretty close,” McDonnell instructed Sky News.

If the vote is a tie, then the speaker of parliament, John Bercow, would maintain the deciding vote. According to obscure conference, the speaker would search to maintain the problem open for additional dialogue.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper and William James; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Frances Kerry

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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