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Express & Star comment: Against all odds, is Brexit finally on?

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

Don’t say it out loud, but this could turn out to be one of the most momentous weeks in British political history.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, ahead of the opening sessions of the European Council summit at EU headquarters in Brussels

After what has seemed like an eternity’s worth of baying and rancour over Brexit, a glimmer of hope has emerged that Boris Johnson might actually have a new deal to put before MPs.

Against all odds, the Government’s top secret negotiations with the EU look as if they may actually bear fruit – something which would have seemed preposterous a month ago.

But let’s not get too excited. There is still a long way to go, and striking an agreement with Brussels was always likely to be the easier part of this delicate, ultra time-sensitive process.

If Mr Johnson does manage to bring something back from the EU Summit, which concludes tomorrow, he will face the monumental challenge of getting it signed off by our Parliament.

This is a Parliament where Mr Johnson has no majority, where Theresa May’s Brexit deal was rejected time and time again, and where the majority of MPs apparently want the country to stay in the EU.

There are MPs who will never vote for any Brexit deal, no matter what the terms are.

They include the Liberals, who now campaign to revoke Article 50, the Scottish Nationalists, who are determined to break up the United Kingdom, and Labour MPs who have, in some cases, decided to go against the wishes of their constituents.

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Mr Johnson is pinning his hopes on getting enough support to edge the vote, but he will need a significant shift of opinion in the Commons.

He will need a number of Labour MPs to vote with the Government, while the DUP and Tory Brexiteers will have to be satisfied with concessions over the Irish backstop.

If they need any guidance then look no further than one of the greatest political achievements in recent memory, the Good Friday Agreement. To get that over the line it took compromise, dedication and a will to succeed.

Those same qualities will be needed if we are to see the Brexit deadlock finally broken.

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