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Brexit pact faces steep odds in the U.K. Parliament — and Johnson might not mind failure

Associated Press
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have an issue to campaign on if Parliament rejects a Brexit deal.

The new Brexit pact reached between the European Union and Britain on Thursday will struggle to get through the U.K. Parliament. And for Boris Johnson, the U.K. prime minister, that might not be a terrible outcome.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which is part of Johnson’s ruling coalition, has said they won’t back the latest deal. The Labour Party also is opposed. On Johnson’s right, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has urged the U.K. Parliament to reject the new tentative deal reached between the British government and the European Union.

Johnson will need 320 votes in the U.K. Parliament for the Brexit deal to be approved.

Even if all Conservative Party MPs back the deal, Johnson will need help. “Johnson’s math has him needing 61 votes from a possible 85 and that will be a tall task as he is still seeing resistance from Northern Ireland’s DUP, the party that holds what many consider 10 critical votes,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, a foreign currency trading platform.

Constantine Fraser, political analyst at TS Lombard, points out that Johnson will now have this deal rather than a hard Brexit to run on if the U.K. were to hold a general election.

“The main takeaway is that the Conservative party is now committed to this deal, not no-deal, and will campaign for a majority for it if the coming general election takes place before the U.K. has left the E.U.,” Fraser said.

Sky News reported that Johnson has told European Union leaders he will not ask for an extension of the planned Oct. 31 exit date if Parliament doesn’t approve the deal. That’s despite Parliament passing a law saying he would have to do so in that situation.

The British pound GBPUSD, -0.2339% shot up as high as $1.2987 before settling back to the high $1.28 level.

The FTSE 100 UKX, +0.71% of top British companies on the London Stock Exchange registered more moderate gains, climbing 0.5%.