Factbox – British Reactions to New Brexit Deal


17 October 2019, 18:45


The European Union and the British government have clinched a new deal setting the terms of Britain’s exit from the bloc, VOA news reports.

However, it needs to be approved by the British parliament in order to take effect and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party does not have a majority in the House of Commons.

Below are reactions from key players in Britain to the new deal, and some comments from business groups and analysts:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

“This deal represents a very good deal both for the EU and for the UK,” Johnson said during a brief statement to media in Brussels, standing alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“… For us in the UK it means that we can deliver a real Brexit that achieves our objectives and it means that the UK leaves whole and entire on October 31.”

“I hope very much … that my fellow MPs (lawmakers) in Westminster do now come together to get Brexit done, to get this excellent deal over the line and to deliver Brexit without any more delay.”

“Now is the moment for us to get Brexit done and then together to work on building our future partnership, which I think can be incredibly positive both for the UK and for the EU.”

Northern Ireland’s Dup Party:

“Following confirmation from the Prime Minister that he believes he has secured a ‘great new deal’ with the European Union the Democratic Unionist Party will be unable to support these proposals in parliament,” the DUP said in a statement, which outlined its objections to the proposed new agreement.

“For all of these reasons, it is our view that these arrangements would not be in Northern Ireland’s long term interests. Saturday’s vote in parliament on the proposals will only be the start of a long process to get any Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the House of Commons.”

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party:

“This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote.”

He said Labour would not vote for the deal in parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party:

“The Brexit envisaged by Boris Johnson is one which sees a much looser relationship with the EU when it comes to issues like food standards, environmental protections and workers’ rights.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit in any form, and SNP MPs (lawmakers) will not vote for Brexit in any form.”

Jo Swinson, leader of the pro-Eu liberal democrats:

“The fight to stop Brexit is far from over. This Brexit deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services and bad for our environment.”

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party:

“It binds us into so many other commitments on foreign policy, military policy – a list as long as your arm, and I frankly think it should be rejected.

“Would I rather accept a new European treaty that is, frankly, very bad for us, or would I prefer to have an extension, and a general election? I would always go for the latter option. I genuinely believe that a clean break and being able to be competitive is the absolute key to our future economic success. We cannot do that with this new treaty.”

Iain Duncan Smith, senior MP, former conservative leader, strongly in favor of Brexit:

“I am reserving my position on this,” he said, adding that he wanted to understand the DUP’s position on some of the details before deciding whether to vote for the deal or not.

Jeremy Hunt, senior MP, former rival to Boris Johnson in conservative leadership contest:

“Fair play Boris. Many doubted it was possible to do this before Oct. 31, including me on some occasions, but he has ditched the backstop and brought the deal home. Bravo.”

Michael Gove, cabinet minister, strongly in favor of Brexit:

Asked what the government would do if parliament voted against the new deal on Saturday: “We don’t contemplate defeat.

There is a lot in this deal for everyone who wants us to leave in a smooth and orderly fashion.”

Adam Marshall, head of the British Chambers of Commerce:

“Let’s not forget, we’ve been here before. There is still a long way to go before businesses can confidently plan for the future. Companies across the UK and around the world will be paying close attention to what happens next and whether the deal agreed can secure parliamentary support.”

“For business, this deal may be the end of the beginning “but it is far from the beginning of the end of the Brexit process.”

Jonathan Geldart, head of the Institute of Directors:

“As MPs study the draft deal, they must keep firmly in mind the damage a disorderly exit could cause businesses large and small. A further extension offers no guarantees of avoiding this outcome, but if a passable deal is in touching distance then politicians on all sides should be pragmatic about giving us the time to get there.

“If the immediate choice is between leaving the EU in an orderly versus a disorderly manner, politicians must be mindful of the longer-term consequences their actions may bring to bear.”

Constantine Fraser, political analyst at investment research firm TS Lombard:

“It’s a better deal for the Tory right than May’s, because it allows for greater future UK-EU divergence (though it doesn’t make it inevitable); it’s worse for the DUP, because NI is essentially semi-detached from the UK for the foreseeable future and quite likely forever. It’s no longer so much a backstop as the default future status for NI.”

“The main takeaway is that the Conservative party is now committed to this deal, not no-deal, and will campaign for a majority for it if the coming general election takes place before the UK has left the EU.”

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