Boris Johnson says he is “very confident” MPs will back the Brexit deal he has struck with the EU – despite the DUP’s opposition to it.
The prime minister claimed he would win what is expected to be a knife-edge Commons vote on Saturday.
“This is our chance in the UK as democrats to get Brexit done, and come out on 31 October,” he said.
The DUP is against concessions he made to the EU on customs checks at the point of entry into Northern Ireland.
The party’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, accused the prime minister of being “too eager by far to get a deal at any cost”.
The PM must also convince Tory Brexiteers, the 23 Tory MPs he expelled from the party, and Labour MPs concerned about protection for workers and the environment in the new deal.
He denied he would meet the same fate as his predecessor Theresa May, who repeatedly failed to get a Brexit deal through Parliament.
“I am very confident that when my colleagues in Parliament study this agreement that they will want to vote for it on Saturday and in succeeding days,” he said at an EU summit in Brussels.
Appealing to the DUP, which the government relies on for support in key Commons votes, he insisted the UK could leave the EU “as one United Kingdom” and “decide our future together”.
Mr Dodds earlier criticised Mr Johnson, telling BBC News: “If he’d held his nerve – and held out – he would, of course, have got better concessions which kept the integrity, both economic and constitutional, of the UK.”
He said he expected a “massive vote” against Mr Johnson’s deal on Saturday in the House of Commons – and the DUP expected to “play a crucial role” in amending the legislation.
Can Boris Johnson win the vote?
The winning post for votes in the House of Commons is 320 if everyone turns up – seven Sinn Fein MPs don’t sit and the Speaker and three deputies don’t vote.
There are currently 287 voting Conservative MPs. The prime minister needs to limit any rebellion among them.
Then, if the DUP won’t support his deal, he’ll need the backing of 23 former Conservative MPs who are currently independents. Most will probably support the deal, but not all.
That’s still not quite enough, though, so the PM will also need the backing of some Labour MPs and ex-Labour independents. In March, when MPs voted on Theresa May’s deal for the third time, five Labour MPs backed it, plus two ex-Labour independents.
This time it’s likely to be a bit higher than that because several MPs have said they would now back a deal.
All this still leaves the vote very close. And it’s possible some MPs could abstain, making it even harder to predict the outcome.
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