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Pete Madeley: Can Boris's deal hit the magic number?

By Peter Madeley | Politics | Published:

Three hundred and twenty – That's the magic number of MPs Boris Johnson needs to get onside for his Brexit deal to pass through the Commons.

At first glance, it seems like an insurmountable task.

While the new agreement with Brussels is "a great new deal that takes back control" according to Mr Johnson, not everyone is happy, with Jeremy Corbyn saying it is worse than Theresa May's deal and Nigel Farage describing it as a "surrender".

The PM won't give a fig about their views, but he will certainly be concerned by the reaction of the DUP, who have vowed to vote down a deal they say undermines the integrity of the UK.

The DUP's opposition means a number of members of the Tory ERG will tag along, seemingly pushing that 320 figure further into the distance.

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But the intervention of European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker may have swung the pendulum back in the Government's favour.

By ruling out an extension to the October 31 deadline, he has effectively left MPs with a choice between Mr Johnson's deal and the "catastrophic", "disastrous", "end-of-the-world-is-nigh" no deal that Remainers are so fond of warning us about.

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While it is the EU27 that will make the final decision on any extension, there is no denying that Mr Juncker’s logic is sound.

With a new deal agreed there is no argument left for another delay – seemingly destroying the final tactic Remainers had left in their plan to stop Britain from leaving the EU.

Around Westminster yesterday, anti-Brexit MPs were becoming increasingly anxious.

There was surprise that a new agreement had been reached with the EU.

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A mad rush ensued to pull apart the detail in the revised political declaration, continuing the traditional trend with all things Brexit of finding fault but no solutions.

Above all, there was concern that a significant number of Labour MPs may back the deal when it goes to a meaningful vote.

And why wouldn't they? Labour MPs in high Leave vote areas will have difficulty in justifying causing yet another delay to Brexit.

They will be acutely aware that by doing so, they may well be voting their way out of office at the next general election.

For them, going against the wishes of a clueless leader who has lost control of his party will be a risk worth taking.

Businesses want Brexit done. The country wants Brexit done.

Parliament now has one final chance to show that it is not the seat of anti-democracy that many people believe it has become.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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