UPDATE : UK, EU reach Brexit deal, Parliament next hurdle
BRUSSELS (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s career of disdain for the European Union was a thing of the past on Thursday as he and the bloc’s leaders celebrated their tentative Brexit deal.
He now faces an opponent closer to home: his own Parliament.
With the ink barely dry on the proposal and Johnson still happily backslapping EU leaders at a summit in Brussels, a chorus of British party leaders said they would vote against the deal.
Crucially, the Northern Irish party that supports Johnson’s minority government said it would not support the deal, leaving the prime minister uncertain of getting the votes he needs to ratify it.
After an intense week of technical talks and with only two weeks to go until Britain’s scheduled departure on Oct. 31, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker broke the tension with a tweet Thursday morning: “We have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment.”
Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a “great new deal” and urged UK lawmakers to back it in a special session being held Saturday — the first time since the 1982 Falklands War that the House of Commons has sat on a weekend.
European leaders unanimously endorsed the tentative deal on Thursday, formally sending it to the British Parliament.
But Johnson will face a struggle to get his deal approved.
All the major opposition parties condemned the agreement, and Johnson’s key Northern Irish ally also said its lawmakers would oppose it.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Brexit party leader Nigel Farage all announced they could not back the deal.