Nigel Farage, the minor-party leader who played a major role in Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, is trying to throw his weight around again in the U.K.’s Brexit-dominated election. Farage on Friday piled the pressure on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying his Brexit Party will run against Johnson’s Conservatives across the country in the Dec. 12 early election unless Johnson abandons his divorce deal with the EU. Farage spoke a day after U.S. President Donald Trump barged into the British election campaign, urging his friend Farage to make an electoral pact with Johnson’s Conservatives. Trump told Farage on the Euroskeptic politician’s own radio phone-in show Thursday that he and Johnson would be “an unstoppable force.” Johnson on Friday gently rebuffed Trump’s suggestion and ruled out an electoral pact with Farage. “If I may respectfully say to all our friends around the world … the only way to get this thing done is to vote for us,” Johnson told ITV News. “If you vote for any other party, the risk is you’ll just get Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, dither and delay.” All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs in the election that is coming more than two years early, with winners to be chosen by Britain’s 46 million voters. If the Brexit Party runs in only a small number of seats, that would help the Conservatives, who are vying with Farage for the support of Brexit-backing voters. Farage’s party, which was founded
Boris Johnson’s allies in Northern Ireland vowed Saturday to keep rejecting the British prime minister’s divorce deal with the European Union until his government wins more concessions from the bloc. Arlene Foster, the leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, said she demanded honesty from the British government. She told her party conference in Belfast that regulatory and customs borders between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom were not acceptable. “We will not give support to the government when we believe they are fundamentally wrong and acting in a way that is detrimental to Northern Ireland and taking us in the wrong direction,” Arlene Foster said. “We will oppose them and we will use our votes to defeat them.” Her comments are important because Johnson needs more votes in Parliament than just his Conservative party to get his Brexit deal passed. “Let me say clearly from this platform today that we want to support a deal that works for the whole of the United Kingdom and which does not leave Northern Ireland behind,” she said. “But without change, we will not vote for the prime minister’s agreement.” Parliament has already dealt Johnson a series of setbacks and derailed his promise to take Britain out of the EU by the end of the month “come what may.” Johnson has now pinned his hopes on an early general election, calling for one on Dec. 12, but how Britain will solve its Brexit stalemate is still completely up in the
“From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected. 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,” Jeremy Corbyn said.
Britain clinched a last-minute Brexit deal with the European Union on Thursday, but still faced a challenge in getting it approved by parliament. “Where there is a will there is a deal – we have one. It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is a testament to our commitment to find solutions,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a tweet a few hours before an EU summit in Brussels. He said he would recommend that leaders of the other 27 member states approve the deal. “I believe it is high time to complete the divorce process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union’s future partnership with the United Kingdom,” Juncker said in an attached letter. Separately, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we have a great new Brexit deal”. Johnson is hoping to get approval for the agreement in a vote at an extraordinary session of the British parliament on Saturday, to pave the way for an orderly departure on Oct. 31. However, the Northern Irish party that Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement has refused to support the deal that was hammered out over weeks of negotiations. The head of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said in Brussels he was “unhappy” with the deal and would vote against it. Lawmakers in his party said they had been told to vote for another referendum on Saturday. STERLING SURGES Nevertheless, sterling surged more
The European Union agreed on Friday to enter intense talks with Britain to try to break the deadlock over Brexit, lifting financial markets with a sign that a deal could be done before the Halloween deadline. A flurry of activity has brought the fraught bargaining process to a new level as Britain’s scheduled departure date of Oct. 31 grows ever closer, but it is still uncertain whether the two sides can make a breakthrough before then. The move came at the end of a tumultuous week which started with a public row between London and Brussels. By Thursday British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar said they had found “a pathway” to a possible deal, and by Friday some officials were expressing guarded optimism. “I think both of us can see a pathway to a deal, but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal,” Boris Johnson said on Friday. “There’s a way to go, it’s important now our negotiators on both sides get into proper talks about how to sort this thing out.” Ireland is crucial if a deal is to be done to avert a potentially disorderly Brexit that would hurt global growth, roil financial markets and could even split the United Kingdom. Dublin will have to consent to any solution to the toughest problem of all: how to prevent the British province of Northern Ireland from becoming a backdoor into the EU’s markets without having border controls. A diplomat and an EU official said
Britain’s latest proposal for an agreement on the terms of its divorce from the European Union has been widely rebuffed in Brussels because it does not meet the objectives of the so-called Irish border backstop. Below is an explanation of the backstop Britain agreed with Brussels in 2018, the new plan proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and why EU officials think it falls short: WHAT’S THE BACKSTOP? Now, there are no border checks or infrastructure between the UK province of Northern Ireland and Ireland as both are in the EU’s single market customs and regulatory arrangements. The backstop in the 2018 Brexit deal was designed to prevent a hard border being introduced on the island of Ireland when Britain leaves the EU – whatever trade deal was eventually agreed between London and Brussels. It envisaged that the United Kingdom would remain bound by some EU rules if no other way is found to keep the border between the British province and Ireland invisible. Maintaining a frictionless border was a key part of the 1998 Good Friday agreement between London and Dublin to end 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland. WHY DIDN’T THAT WORK? Pro-Brexit lawmakers objected to the 2018 deal, saying the backstop would tie Britain to the EU come what may, leaving the country overseen by EU judges and preventing it from striking trade deals around the world. Parliament’s rejection of the deal forced then-Prime Minister Theresa May from office. WHAT’S THE NEW PLAN? Johnson’s new proposal