Boris Johnson's Brexit breakthrough was understandably front page news on Friday, as UK newspapers acknowledged that while scoring a major coup by securing a settlement with Brussels, the Prime Minister faced another battle on the home front.
As most papers emphasise that it’s not a “done deal” yet, The Guardian makes a reference to the support the Prime Minister will be seeking in Parliament to secure his deal, reporting:
“Johnson gets his Brexit deal – now it’s a numbers game”.
The paper also says EU leaders "are refusing to rule out any further delay to Brexit".
It says while it all comes down to "a numbers game", "the arithmetic looks daunting" for the PM.
The Mirror writes:
“On the brink of Brexit … once again”.
A "desperate fight", "uphill struggle" and a "gamble" is how the Daily Mirror describes PM Johnson's attempts to secure enough MP votes to back his deal. Labour, the Lib Dems and the DUP have voiced their intention to reject it, the paper reports.
The i similarly points to the uphill battle the PM now faces to get his deal through Westminster:
“Johnson gets his EU deal … now for the tricky part”.
The FT turns the spotlight on the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland, emphasising that it’s against the new Brexit deal, writing:
“DUP veto threat leaves Johnson’s Brexit deal gamble in the balance”.
"A huge political gamble" is how the paper describes the PM's decision to strike a deal without the backing of the DUP.
The paper says that the Northern Ireland party could play a "crucial" role over whether Tory Eurosceptic MPs support the revised deal in Saturday's vote.
A host of papers are urging MPs to vote for the deal, as The Telegraph quotes the prime minister as saying:
“It’s my deal or no deal”.
It says the prime minister will give MPs a "my deal or no deal" ultimatum ahead of Saturday's vote.
However, it reports that Johnson faces a "plot by a Remain alliance" which could result in another referendum on whether to accept the deal or to stay in the EU.
The Daily Mail features a picture of Johnson pointing, with the emphatic headline:
“He’s done his duty. Now MPs must do theirs”.
The paper gives its reason for making such a plea, suggesting that "our reckless political class may try to derail" Johnson's plans during Saturday's Parliamentary debate.
The Sun’s catchy headline is:
“Get real … take the deal”
The paper says that, against all the odds, Boris Johnson has pulled off a "miracle" Brexit deal, but concedes he has a “mountain to climb” in the Commons.
And the Express puts it succinctly:
“Just do it!” which says its own online poll points to a majority of voters wanting MPs to pass the deal.
Daily Express front page. 18 October 2019 pic.twitter.com/1W6WlPNfYQ— Kate Lyons (@MsKateLyons) October 18, 2019
“Great New Deal”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday that the country had finally reached a “great new deal” that would “#GetBrexitDone”.
In hopes of meeting the 31 October Brexit deadline and avoiding a request for another extension, Johnson’s government and Brussels were able to hammer out an agreement that both sides have touted as the final withdrawal deal.
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and other members of the EU echoed PM Johnson’s positive outlook on the divorce settlement as they gathered for the crunch summit in Brussels, calling it a “fair compromise between the bloc and the UK” in a statement.
Ditching the “Backstop”
One of the major points of the new deal regards the removal of the Northern Irish backstop and revisions that would keep the country in the UK customs territory, but also allow it to remain in the European single market.
In practice, this signifies no customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but with goods checked upon entry to mainland Britain.
UK officials will also check goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
A “Numbers Game”
The UK Parliament is now expected to vote on Johnson’s Brexit referendum at a “Super Saturday” sitting.
According to the Benn Act legislation, if the prime minister fails to muster up a majority, it will result in yet another extension of the Brexit deadline.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to support Boris Johnson’s deal, branding it worse than Theresa May’s, and intimated his party would support a motion for a second Brexit referendum.
The Scottish National Party tabled an amendment to reject the deal, while the Liberal Democrats, vocal supporters of Remain, are also calling for a second referendum.
Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, allied with Johnson’s government, said the prime minister had made too many concessions to the EU and refused to support his deal.
Saturday's showdown in the Commons is Johnson's last chance to get Parliament to approve a deal before the Brexit deadline of 31 October.
If MPs reject his plans, legislation passed by MPs says he must ask the EU for an extension until 31 January 2020 - something he has repeatedly insisted he would not do.