October 17, 2019 / 5:18 PM / a month ago

UK PM Johnson expresses confidence parliament will back his Brexit deal

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a news conference at the European Union leaders summit dominated by Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed confidence on Thursday that British lawmakers would back the Brexit deal he clinched with the European Union, saying most agreed it was time to “get this thing done”.

Johnson, the face of the 2016 campaign to leave the EU, brushed off suggestions he could not persuade enough lawmakers to pass the deal at the weekend after his allies, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, rejected his new agreement.

“I’m very confident that when my colleagues in parliament study this agreement they will want to vote for it on Saturday and then in succeeding days,” he told a news conference in Brussels.

“There is, as I say, a very good case for MPs (lawmakers) across the House of Commons to express the democratic will of the people, as we’ve expressed many times to do, and to get Brexit done.

“I don’t think there is any case for delay.”

Johnson’s team hopes the threat of Britain leaving without a deal on his deadline of Oct. 31 will concentrate minds in parliament, which rejected an agreement negotiated by his predecessor, Theresa May, three times.

He hopes his new mantra of “new deal or no deal, but no delay” is shared by other EU leaders, tired of Brexit negotiations that have dominated their meetings for more than three years.

“I don’t think delay is to the advantage of the UK or indeed of the whole of Europe. I think people want to move this thing on. It’s been going on for a long time and that’s the view that seems to be quite widely shared,” he said.

After Brexit, he said, “it will be a very exciting period now, as it were, to get to that positive side of that project. The extraction having been done, the building now begins.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by John Chalmers

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