Johnson’s Brexit proposals rejected by Ireland and EU
Enfeebled UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals have been dismissed by Ireland, the UK opposition and sources in Brussels.
Johnson needs to rapidly win the approval of the EU and a few opposition Labour MPs to have any chance of securing a deal this month.
A few Labour MPs have already expressed a willingness to vote for a deal although, to win them over, Johnson may lose votes on the right on his party among his extreme “Brexists”.
The European Union could reportedly grant another Brexit delay even if a letter asking for an extension beyond October 31 is not signed by Johnson.
Under the new Benn Act he must ask for an extension if no agreement is agreed by October 19.
The Times reported that the cabinet secretary, as head of the civil service, could make the request and accept a further delay if Johnson refused.
“I am sure the system will produce what we need to get to an extension,” a EU source told the paper. “We don’t care who it is, whether it is the prime minister or another representative of the executive.”
Norbert Röttgen of Germany’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee said an extension was needed because Johnson’s Brexit plans were “not serious and violate the law”.
“He wants to ask the EU not to extend the deadline and proposes a backstop that de facto is a hard border,” the senior CDU politician tweeted. “Not least to protect the sovereignty of the British parliament, EU should give long extension.”
The Irish Republic’s deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said Dublin and the rest of the European Union would not accept Johnson’s customs border around Northern Ireland, regulatory checks in the Irish Sea, with the currently abandoned Stormont parliament in Belfast given a veto over future relationships with Brussels.
Coveney said: “Does this deal with the commitment for no border infrastructure on the island of Ireland? No it doesn’t on customs. Does it allow for an all-island economy to function as we have a commitment on in the withdrawal agreement? No.
“We cannot support any proposal that suggests one party or indeed a minority in Northern Ireland make the decisions for the majority. That would not be consistent with the Good Friday Agreement and it is not something we could possibly support as part of final deal,” he said in reference to the 1998 peace deal that ended the Irish civil war.
He told the Irish parliament: “If that is the final proposal, there will be no deal.”
The leader of the Labour opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, said Johnson bid for a Canada-style free trade deal would mean a “race to the bottom” on worker and environmental rights. He said “no Labour MP” would support the Brexit proposals.
Picture credit: Eurasia Times