The United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) have announced a new deal, which could allow the UK to leave the EU more smoothly. But the deal must first be approved by the UK Parliament, something that seems unlikely.
For over two years, the UK worked with the EU to reach a Brexit deal. Though Ex-Prime Minister Theresa May reached an agreement with the EU, the UK Parliament never approved the deal. The process has taken longer than expected and the UK only has until October 31 to agree to a final deal.
When Boris Johnson took over as prime minister in late July, he said that the UK should leave the EU in any way possible, including without an agreement (“no-deal” Brexit).
Experts warn that leaving without a deal would be damaging for the UK. But if a deal isn’t reached by October 31, the UK will “crash out”, leaving without a deal.
Though Mr. Johnson tried to limit Parliament in order to force a no-deal exit, Parliament fought back, giving Mr. Johnson until October 19 to make a deal or ask for more time.
Now, after intense and complicated talks between Mr. Johnson and Irish leaders and between the UK and the EU, a new deal has been agreed upon. Both sides say they are eager to pass the deal and to keep working together in the future.
The hardest part of the agreement has always been the border separating Ireland (which is part of the EU) and Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK). Almost no one wanted to tightly control the border. But without tight controls, the UK needed special agreements with the EU – something that Brexit fans wouldn’t accept.
The new agreement is similar to the old one, but under the new agreement Northern Ireland will treated in a special and complicated way – almost as if it is partly a member of both the EU and the UK.
In a sense, the border will now be in the Irish Sea between the islands of Britain and Ireland. But Northern Ireland will still get to keep most of the good parts of belonging to the UK. The new deal will also give Northern Ireland a chance every few years to decide if it still likes the agreement.
But many people in Northern Ireland already dislike the new deal. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has already said that they won’t vote for the new deal. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the same thing.
That’s a problem for Mr. Johnson, since it means the deal is very unlikely to be approved when the UK Parliament votes on it on Saturday. If the deal is approved, the UK will still need to pass the laws needed to make the deal work, and may need more time to do that.
If the deal is voted down, the UK will need to get another extension quickly or risk crashing out of the EU on October 31.
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