POLITICS
17/10/2019 14:20 BST | Updated 17/10/2019 15:23 BST

Jean-Claude Juncker Says No To Brexit Delay As Boris Johnson Battles For Commons Votes

“I’m happy about the deal, but I’m sad about Brexit. Have a good time.”

Boris Johnson has urged MPs to vote for the Brexit deal agreed with the EU to ensure the UK leaves on October 31, as Jean-Claude Juncker said he did not see the need for an extension.

The prime minister told a press conference in Brussels that MPs must “come together to get Brexit done”.

Following days of intense negotiations, UK and EU officials announced an agreement had been reached just hours before the start of the crucial summit of EU leaders.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “convinced” the British parliament would vote for the deal because it “has to”.

“Anyway there will be no prolongation. We have concluded a deal and so there is not an argument for further delay – it has to be done now,” he said.

Juncker added: “I’m happy about the deal, but I’m sad about Brexit. Have a good time.”

His comments will heap pressure on MPs opposed to a no-deal exit to back the deal agreed by Johnson.

But it is up to EU27 leaders to grant an extension to Article 50, not Juncker.

One Remain-backing Labour MP told HuffPost UK they did not think the European Commission President had ruled out a delay with his comments.

“I read Juncker words differently. He obviously doesn’t see need for an extension but also accepts its not for him to tell parliament what to do,” they said.

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The prime minister’s chances of winning the Saturday vote in the Commons on the deal are on a knife-edge after the the DUP said its 10 MPs would not be backing it.

A statement from Arlene Foster’s party, which has been in close and regular talks with the PM, criticised his effort for undermining the integrity of the union and being bad for Northern Ireland’s economy.

The stance of the DUP is particularly important because the party wields influence over some hardline Tory Brexiteers and Johnson is far short of a majority in parliament.

Johnson will have to rely on Labour MPs deciding to defy Jeremy Corbyn to back his deal as well as the 21 former Tory MPs he kicked out of the party for voting to block a no-deal exit.

Cabinet efforts to win support for the deal were underway on Thursday. Chancellor Sajid Javid was taking time out between meetings on a trip to Washington DC to contact Tory MPs.

If parliament does not back his deal by Saturday, Johnson faces an almighty clash over whether he will request a further Brexit delay from Brussels.

The Benn Act passed by no-deal opponents compels him to ask for a delay to the end of January, but the PM has repeatedly ruled out taking this course of action.

Corbyn was quick to dismiss the PM’s agreement, criticising it for creating a customs border in the Irish sea.

“As it stands we cannot support this deal,” the Labour leader told reporters in Brussels, adding that it did not seem to have the backing of “many of his allies on his own backbenches”.

Nicola Sturgeon also ruled out her MPs in the SNP backing the deal, insisting it will mean Scotland alone is “treated unfairly” when the UK leaves the European Union.