Labour′s Corbyn: Johnson′s Brexit plan won′t pass Brussels, or Parliament | News | DW | 03.10.2019
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Labour's Corbyn: Johnson's Brexit plan won't pass Brussels, or Parliament

UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has said Boris Johnson's Brexit plans would falter in Brussels and at the hands of British politicians. Meanwhile, the EU's Donald Tusk said he remained "open but still unconvinced."

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said in the House of Commons on Thursday that he would order his members of Parliament (MPs) to oppose Boris Johnson's latest Brexit proposal for a negotiated withdrawal agreement.

"The proposals are unrealistic and damaging, and will, as I think the prime minister full well knows, be rejected in Brussels, rejected in this House and rejected across the country," Corbyn told Parliament.

However, Johnson rebuffed the criticism, arguing, "We have made genuine effort to bridge the chasm, to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable and to go the extra mile as time runs short."

He maintained that there would be "grave consequences of trust" in democracy if the UK does not leave the EU on its scheduled date of October 31.

Watch video 00:37

Johnson: Objective always been to leave with deal

Searching for cross-party support 

Stuck in a minority government and unable to trigger elections, the prime minister would likely need some Labour Party support to win passage of any fresh Brexit deal. However, Corbyn is unpopular with many Labour MPs and his instructions may or may not ultimately be followed.

Corbyn called the new plan a "rehashed version" of previously rejected ones. 

Corbyn also accused Johnson of not acting in good faith, saying that these proposals would lead to an even worse deal than those proposed by former Prime Minister Theresa May.

Johnson said in Parliament that he was "not going to pretend this is a done deal." He said he planned to seek cross-party support for the proposals, so far only Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have formally voiced support.

Steve Baker, the head of the Conservative Party's European Research Group (ERG) called the new plan a "tolerable deal." He hinted that Conservative euroskeptics might support it, having rejected May's previous deal when the Conservatives still had the necessary majority to push it through.

Read more: Opinion: Who can save the UK from political meltdown?

EU reactions 

Johnson's new Brexit plan received mixed reviews from the EU's other member states. 

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Twitter that he had spoken both to Johnson and to the Republic of Ireland's head of government, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 

"My message to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: We stand fully behind Ireland. My message to PM Boris Johnson: We remain open but still unconvinced," Tusk wrote. 

Ireland's Varadkar said the proposals were welcome, but that they fell short in a number of aspects. 

After a meeting with Varadkar, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced, "We must be very firm in avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland."

Meanwhile Sweden's European Affair's minister, Hans Dahlgrenn, said he is positive about the "concrete proposal" for a Brexit deal Johnson put forth. Dahlgren said, "Good that one is prepared to discuss this so we can ensure the UK leaves the EU in an orderly manner ... We all benefit from this."

The EU parliament's Brexit group said that Johnson's proposals "do not match even remotely" what was needed for a compromise.

The new proposals focus on keeping an open border between the UK's Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, by closely aligning Northern Ireland to EU rules for trade. The UK remains deeply divided over the Irish backstop.

Read more: Why a no-deal Brexit has British Overseas Territories worried

mvb/msh (AP, EFE, Reuters)

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