Corbyn unlikely to back deal Johnson makes with EU

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says he is unlikely to support a deal agreed between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union, as talks to find an agreement intensify.
British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he will caution lawmakers against backing a confirmatory referendum on a deal.
British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he will caution lawmakers against backing a confirmatory referendum on a deal.

British PM to urge Merkel, Macron, Juncker for support

LONDON • British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he is unlikely to support a deal agreed between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union, Sky News reported yesterday.

"I think the problem areas are of regulation and deregulation, which come from whatever trade arrangement there is with Europe and the wider world, but also perhaps very serious is the Irish border issue," Mr Corbyn told Sky News in an interview.

"And if it creates a border down the Irish Sea rather than on the Irish border itself, I can see that bringing problems," he said, adding that he will caution British lawmakers against backing a confirmatory referendum on a deal.

With the Oct 31 deadline for a new Brexit divorce deal looming, EU diplomats have said Brussels was willing to enter intense talks with British negotiators to try to strike a deal after Mr Johnson backed down in key areas, including dropping a demand for Customs checks on the island of Ireland.

Mr Johnson will speak to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker by the end of today to urge the leaders to support his Brexit deal, the Sunday Times reported.

Mr Johnson will offer the three leaders the option to either help him deliver a new deal this week, or to agree on a friendly version of a no-deal Brexit by Oct 31, the newspaper said, citing a source familiar with the conversations.

"He'll be talking to Merkel, Macron and Juncker by the end of Monday to see if there's agreement on a 'landing zone' for Northern Ireland and Customs," the source was quoted as telling the newspaper. "The alternative is to agree to a friendly version of no-deal and finish it that way."

Security chiefs have convinced Mr Johnson that a no-deal Brexit will heighten the danger of extremist attacks in Northern Ireland and on the mainland, along with sectarian violence in cities such as Glasgow, according to the report.

As a result, the British Prime Minister desperately wants a Brexit deal, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the newspaper, Mr Johnson told a senior Conservative in a private conversation: "Any one of these risks we could cope with, but taken collectively they would be a massive challenge to the UK state and no one would choose to go down that route."

Mr Johnson told his Cabinet yesterday that a Brexit deal was still possible but that there was significant work to be done to reach one, a spokesman for his office said in a statement.

"The Prime Minister updated Cabinet on the current progress being made in ongoing Brexit negotiations, reiterating that a pathway to a deal could be seen but that there is still a significant amount of work to get there and we must remain prepared to leave on Oct 31," the spokesman said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2019, with the headline 'Corbyn unlikely to back deal Johnson makes with EU'. Print Edition | Subscribe