Does it almost sound too good to be true?
The pound rallied sharply Thursday morning on reports that, after nearly two-and-a-half years of often infuriatingly tedious dealmaking, a Brexit deal has been finished.
Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU had signed on to the deal after a spree of frenzied dealmaking as talks blew past a midnight deadline set by Michel Barnier, the EU27’s top Brexit negotiator. On Thursday, an EU Council summit will begin. Many expect that hammering out a final Brexit deal would be a critical focus of the summit. But now that an agreement on a revised protocol for the Ireland/Northern Ireland border has been reached, and Juncker has given the deal his endorsement, confirmatory votes from the rest of the EU27 are expected to be largely ceremonial.
Johnson celebrated the EU’s decision with a tweet where he declared the deal “takes back control”
We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control — now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment #GetBrexitDone #TakeBackControl
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 17, 2019
In a letter endorsing the deal, Juncker described the new protocol for the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border, long seen as the main obstacle to a deal, as “fair and balanced” and called the agreement “a testament to our commitment to find solutions.”
🇪🇺🤝🇬🇧 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 testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend that #EUCO endorses this deal. pic.twitter.com/7AfKyCZ6k9
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) October 17, 2019
However, the DUP, a small conservative party from Northern Ireland that had repeatedly helped sabotage Theresa May’s attempts to pass a deal, has waffled on whether it will support Johnson’s deal in Parliament. Though the party only has 10 votes, its support is likely critical for Johnson to pass a withdrawal bill at Saturday’s special session of Parliament.
As one Twitter user joked, Johnson woke up on Thursday and learned what it must have been like for Theresa May after the DUP vowed to sabotage his new deal.
Boris Johnson waking up this morning to discover what being Theresa May felt like pic.twitter.com/bpxI0QWli3
— Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) October 17, 2019
The party is saying once again that it cannot support Johnson’s deal because of the VAT scheme set up for Northern Ireland. But Johnson might be able to circumvent them by recruiting votes back from the opposition.
Meanwhile, the pound has rocketed back to just under $1.30, its strongest level since June.