Brexit

DUP votes key to Boris Johnson's Brexit deal delay

Boris Johnson was attempting to persuade MPs to vote for his bill in the House of Commons yesterday

DUP votes proved crucial to forcing a humiliating delay to Boris Johnson's Brexit deal which would have seen the UK exit the EU by the end of the month.

The party's 10 MPs helped vote down the government's three-day Brexit timetable by 322 to 308, despite MPs approving the Withdrawal Agreement Bill by 30 votes minutes earlier.

DUP South Belfast MP Emma Little-Pengelly told Mr Johnson his plan was "the most fundamental change to our union since the Act of Union". The prime minister appeared to mouth the word "rubbish" in response:

Independent Unionist MP Lady Hermon also voted against the motion.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "It's welcome that the House of Commons voted by a clear majority in favour of legislation needed to enact Withdrawal Agreement.

"We will now await further developments from London and Brussels about next steps including timetable for the legislation and the need for an extension."

The British prime minister told MPs he will "pause" the bill until the EU makes a decision on whether it will grant another Brexit delay.

Read More: Dispute over Stormont Brexit veto threatens to kill off efforts to restore devolution

In response European Council president Donald Tusk said "in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, I will recommend the EU27 accept the UK request for an extension".

Mr Johnson's "do or die" pledge to deliver Brexit on October 31 is now unlikely to be fulfilled.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said MPs had made a "very wise" decision to vote down the motion and appealed directly to Mr Johnson to sit down with the party to discuss the bill.

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"Talk to us again about what can be done at this late stage to ensure we join in this great quest together to get Brexit done, but as one United Kingdom," he added.

Mr Johnson insisted "one way or another we will leave the EU with this deal, to which this House has just given its assent".

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