LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s exit from the European Union hung on a knife-edge on Friday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrambled to persuade doubters to rally behind his last-minute European Union divorce deal in an extraordinary vote in parliament.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the European Council after the Brexit-dominated European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
In one of the most striking flourishes of the three-year Brexit drama, Johnson confounded his opponents on Thursday by clinching a new deal with the EU, even though the bloc had promised it would never reopen a treaty it agreed last year.
Yet Johnson, the face of the Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, must now ratify the deal in the British parliament where he has no majority and opponents are plotting maximum political damage ahead of an imminent election.
The numbers are too close to call: Johnson must garner 318 votes in the 650-seat parliament to get a deal approved. Yet his Northern Irish allies are opposed to a deal and the three main opposition parties have pledged to vote it down.
“We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control — now parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday,” Johnson said ahead of the first Saturday sitting of parliament since the 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.
If he wins the vote, Johnson will go down in history as the leader who delivered Brexit – for good or bad. If he fails, Johnson will face the humiliation of Brexit unraveling after repeatedly promising that he would get it done.
Goldman Sachs said it thought the deal would pass and raised its estimate of Brexit with a deal on Oct.