By this time next week, we should know whether the UK will leave the European Union on 31 October or whether an extension to the Article 50 process has been granted so we do not crash out without a deal in the short term.

This will all depend on whether the prime minister can win agreement for , first from the EU at the European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday, and then from the UK parliament on Saturday. 

To all intents and purposes his proposals are similar to Theresa May’s but he seeks to replace the so-called Irish backstop with a set of . In Brexit parlance, what Boris Johnson has proposed is still amongst the hardest of “hard Brexits”, which is why they should be fought tooth and nail.  

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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There are many problems with his blueprint, which is even worse than his predecessor’s, but here are some of the main ones.

First, what Johnson has proposed is not “a deal”. He claims it will “get Brexit done” – it will do nothing of the sort. 

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UK news in pictures

Shape Created with Sketch.
UK news in pictures

1/50 11 October 2019

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Tehran since 2016, holds his daughter Gabriella during a news conference in London. Their five-year-old daughter has arrived back in Britain, after making the “bittersweet” decision to bring her home

2/50 10 October 2019

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Thornton Manor. Their meeting focused on further Brexit proposals

3/50 9 October 2019

Wales survived an almighty scare against Fiji to secure quarter-final spot at the rugby world cup. Warren Gatland’s side recovered from a 10-0 deficit thanks to a hat-trick from Josh Adams

4/50 8 October 2019

Protesters dubbed the Red Rebels at Millbank at the junction with Great College Street, during an Extinction Rebellion protest in Westminster

5/50 7 October 2019

Final preparations are made in front of a reproduction of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’, ahead of the opening of for the ‘Michelangelo: A Different View’ exhibition at Hull Minister

6/50 6 October 2019

A car drives through a flooded street in Whitley Bay in Northumberland

7/50 5 October 2019

Thousands took to the streets of Edinburgh today to march in support of a second Scottish independence referendum

8/50 4 October 2019

A 12ft sculpture of a gorilla, entitled ‘Gorilla Apocalypse’, created by Luke Kite entirely from scrap car bumpers and panels discarded in the last decade is on display at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire

9/50 3 October 2019

Police stands in front of the Treasury building during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London

10/50 2 October 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook employees demonstrate in London after delivering a petition calling for a full inquiry into Thomas Cook’s collapse and for the company’s directors to pay back their bonuses

11/50 1 October 2019

A road in Alum Rock, Birmingham is flooded after persistent heavy rain

12/50 30 September 2019

Two tourists pose for pictures in front of Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London

13/50 29 September 2019

A sheep on London Bridge as Freemen of the City of London took up their historic entitlement to drive sheep over the bridge, which was once London’s only river crossing

14/50 28 September 2019

An Aldabra giant tortoise is fed watermelon as a treat at the Malvern Autumn Show, at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern in Worcestershire

15/50 27 September 2019

Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled ‘Devolved Parliament’ by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London ahead of Sotheby’s contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair

16/50 26 September 2019

England’s Jonathan Joseph is tackled by United State’s Marcel Brache during their group match at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England scored seven tries on their way to winning 45-7

17/50 25 September 2019

Tributes for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox Stadium. Today, the funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium before making the journey to Wellington Church

18/50 24 September 2019

A person dressed as a caricature of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a prison uniform stands outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal

19/50 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook aircraft are parked up at Manchester Airport on the day they collapsed after rescue talks failed. A total of 22,000 jobs – including 9,000 in UK – are to be lost following administration. More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge

20/50 22 September 2019

Fire performer Penella Bee performs before people take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Nothumberland, an annual event that marks the Autumn Equinox and raises money for MIND – the Mental Health Charity

21/50 21 September 2019

Protesters gather for a march and rally organised by “The People’s Vote” in Brighton, to call for politicians to give the public a final say referendum on Brexit

22/50 20 September 2019

Protesters in London joined millions across world to demand urgent action to save planet in the largest environmental protest in history

23/50 19 September 2019

Rapper Dave poses with the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year Award at Apollo

24/50 18 September 2019

A surfer in action during sunrise at Tynemouth on the north east coast

25/50 17 September 2019

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

26/50 16 September 2019

Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

27/50 15 September 2019

Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14½-13½
Sunset at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay

29/50 13 September 2019

Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain

30/50 12 September 2019

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

31/50 11 September 2019

Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields

32/50 10 September 2019

The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal

33/50 9 September 2019

A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, London

34/50 8 September 2019

Australia celebrate the wicket of England’s Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes

35/50 7 September 2019

Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women’s Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Women’s Super League era – nearly six times the previous WSL record

36/50 6 September 2019

A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew’s review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

37/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

38/50 4 September 2019

Australia’s David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England’s Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester

39/50 3 September 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow

40/50 2 September 2019

Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9

41/50 1 September 2019

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at Whitehall in London

43/50 30 August 2019

One of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London

44/50 29 August 2019

The sun rises over the sculpture “The Couple” by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland

45/50 28 August 2019

A person wearing a Boris Johnson ‘head’ digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London

46/50 27 August 2019

Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton

47/50 26 August 2019

Performers take part in Notting Hill Carnival. Nearly one million people were expected to attend Sunday and Monday’s carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture

48/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys

49/50 24 August 2019

People flock to Bournemouth beach as a heatwave spells potentially record high temperatures for the bank holiday weekend

50/50 23 August 2019

Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club’s home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don’t find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts

1/50 11 October 2019

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Tehran since 2016, holds his daughter Gabriella during a news conference in London. Their five-year-old daughter has arrived back in Britain, after making the “bittersweet” decision to bring her home

2/50 10 October 2019

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Thornton Manor. Their meeting focused on further Brexit proposals

3/50 9 October 2019

Wales survived an almighty scare against Fiji to secure quarter-final spot at the rugby world cup. Warren Gatland’s side recovered from a 10-0 deficit thanks to a hat-trick from Josh Adams

4/50 8 October 2019

Protesters dubbed the Red Rebels at Millbank at the junction with Great College Street, during an Extinction Rebellion protest in Westminster

5/50 7 October 2019

Final preparations are made in front of a reproduction of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’, ahead of the opening of for the ‘Michelangelo: A Different View’ exhibition at Hull Minister

6/50 6 October 2019

A car drives through a flooded street in Whitley Bay in Northumberland

7/50 5 October 2019

Thousands took to the streets of Edinburgh today to march in support of a second Scottish independence referendum

8/50 4 October 2019

A 12ft sculpture of a gorilla, entitled ‘Gorilla Apocalypse’, created by Luke Kite entirely from scrap car bumpers and panels discarded in the last decade is on display at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire

9/50 3 October 2019

Police stands in front of the Treasury building during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London

10/50 2 October 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook employees demonstrate in London after delivering a petition calling for a full inquiry into Thomas Cook’s collapse and for the company’s directors to pay back their bonuses

11/50 1 October 2019

A road in Alum Rock, Birmingham is flooded after persistent heavy rain

12/50 30 September 2019

Two tourists pose for pictures in front of Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London

13/50 29 September 2019

A sheep on London Bridge as Freemen of the City of London took up their historic entitlement to drive sheep over the bridge, which was once London’s only river crossing

14/50 28 September 2019

An Aldabra giant tortoise is fed watermelon as a treat at the Malvern Autumn Show, at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern in Worcestershire

15/50 27 September 2019

Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled ‘Devolved Parliament’ by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London ahead of Sotheby’s contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair

16/50 26 September 2019

England’s Jonathan Joseph is tackled by United State’s Marcel Brache during their group match at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England scored seven tries on their way to winning 45-7

17/50 25 September 2019

Tributes for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox Stadium. Today, the funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium before making the journey to Wellington Church

18/50 24 September 2019

A person dressed as a caricature of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a prison uniform stands outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal

19/50 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook aircraft are parked up at Manchester Airport on the day they collapsed after rescue talks failed. A total of 22,000 jobs – including 9,000 in UK – are to be lost following administration. More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge

20/50 22 September 2019

Fire performer Penella Bee performs before people take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Nothumberland, an annual event that marks the Autumn Equinox and raises money for MIND – the Mental Health Charity

21/50 21 September 2019

Protesters gather for a march and rally organised by “The People’s Vote” in Brighton, to call for politicians to give the public a final say referendum on Brexit

22/50 20 September 2019

Protesters in London joined millions across world to demand urgent action to save planet in the largest environmental protest in history

23/50 19 September 2019

Rapper Dave poses with the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year Award at Apollo

24/50 18 September 2019

A surfer in action during sunrise at Tynemouth on the north east coast

25/50 17 September 2019

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

26/50 16 September 2019

Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

27/50 15 September 2019

Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14½-13½
Sunset at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay

29/50 13 September 2019

Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain

30/50 12 September 2019

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

31/50 11 September 2019

Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields

32/50 10 September 2019

The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal

33/50 9 September 2019

A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, London

34/50 8 September 2019

Australia celebrate the wicket of England’s Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes

35/50 7 September 2019

Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women’s Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Women’s Super League era – nearly six times the previous WSL record

36/50 6 September 2019

A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew’s review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

37/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

38/50 4 September 2019

Australia’s David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England’s Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester

39/50 3 September 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow

40/50 2 September 2019

Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9

41/50 1 September 2019

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at Whitehall in London

43/50 30 August 2019

One of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London

44/50 29 August 2019

The sun rises over the sculpture “The Couple” by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland

45/50 28 August 2019

A person wearing a Boris Johnson ‘head’ digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London

46/50 27 August 2019

Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton

47/50 26 August 2019

Performers take part in Notting Hill Carnival. Nearly one million people were expected to attend Sunday and Monday’s carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture

48/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys

49/50 24 August 2019

People flock to Bournemouth beach as a heatwave spells potentially record high temperatures for the bank holiday weekend

50/50 23 August 2019

Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club’s home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don’t find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts

It is a withdrawal agreement principally relating to a divorce bill (which will be well over £39bn), to EU and UK citizens’ rights in each other’s territories, and arrangements on the island of Ireland. It is not an agreement on future trade between the UK and EU which senior EU officials tell me will take years to negotiate – that’s years more of uncertainty. 

So UK taxpayers are being asked to pay a divorce bill of more than £39bn with no guarantee as to what our future trading relationship with the EU will be.

Second, Johnson seeks to pave the way in the withdrawal agreement for a trading arrangement – the outline of which is set out in a non-legally binding political declaration accompanying the agreement – that will see the UK cease to be part of the EU’s single market and customs union. This will do substantial damage to the UK economy, businesses and jobs.  

This is not only the view of my party but the view of all the major business organisations and trade unions in the country – I would trust their judgement far more than that of the bunch of ideologues running Her Majesty’s government. 

Why does this matter? The single market provides for tariff-free trade between member countries, and a common framework of rules and protections including employment rights, competition policy, consumer and environment regulations. EU states come together through the customs union and apply a common external tariff on non-EU countries’ goods; they also collectively negotiate trade deals with other blocks, believing that acting together they will have far more clout doing deals with the likes of India and China than by acting alone. 

Both are of huge benefit to our economy and the UK was offered the opportunity to remain in them by the EU even in the event of Brexit. Yet Johnson has rejected this offer and wants to pursue an inferior free trade agreement, which is nowhere near as beneficial for the UK.

Based on the  under the kind of free trade agreement Johnson envisages, real wages in the UK will take a long term hit of 6.4 per cent while the UK’s GDP will take a 6.7 per cent hit. HMRC says that the  will be about £1.25bn extra a month (£15bn a year).

Third, it follows that what Johnson is proposing is materially different to what he and the Vote Leave campaign promised the British people they would deliver. 

The People’s Vote campaign has helpfully reproduced many of the Vote Leave promises  after Vote Leave sought to delete them from memory by removing them from its website shortly after the 2016 referendum. 

Its outlandish promises included the claim that we would enjoy the exact same economic benefits as we enjoy as EU members after leaving, new trade deals with third countries would come into force immediately after our departure, a dividend from leaving the EU of £350m per week would be enjoyed by the NHS and so on. None of this will happen on 31 October under Johnson’s plans.

Fourth, it is impossible to reconcile what Johnson has proposed with the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which ended the troubles in Northern Ireland and which require a frictionless border on the island of Ireland. 

His alternative measures to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland involve Northern Ireland continuing to be subject to EU rules relating to agricultural and some other products but leaving the EU customs union. Far from avoiding a hard border, his plans will impose not one but two borders – one between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and one between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.   

The EU did not initially reject the proposals out of hand when they were published on 2 October, but yesterday  told EU diplomats that he did not see how the complex proposals in relation to Ireland could work. And those who would have to live with and trade under the plans have been scathing. 

has described them as worse than no deal. The chair of the  said: “All the promises of unfettered access have been abandoned … [Northern Ireland is] a small business economy and this is a death knell for some of those businesses.”

I on the threat Irish policymakers tell me any kind of checks on the island of Ireland pose to the peace settlement there – Johnson does not seem to be deterred by this and admitted in parliament  his plans involve such checks.

Finally, those who will suffer most from all of this are the younger generations in Britain.

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They will have to live with the consequences longer than any other group. The stability and certainty of EU membership, the economic upside of being part of the world’s biggest trading block and stability in Northern Ireland, are just some of the benefits they are being denied by Johnson’s plans. Older generations have taken these benefits for granted.

Above all, we know that ending free movement altogether – which the government is determined to do – is already deterring the EU citizens we need to come and work in our public services. But we also know it will have the effect of depriving future generations of being able to live and work in other EU countries as millions of Brits have done for decades.

So the fundamentals haven’t changed – remaining in the EU is far superior to any “deal” that can be done, which is why we must stop Brexit through a democratic vote of the people. That is the case now – and it will be the case this time next week regardless of what happens in the next seven days.

Chuka Umunna is the Liberal Democrat MP for Streatham