Brexit: New deal or no deal, says UK Premier Johnson

LONDON

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated on Wednesday his conviction that the U.K. must “get Brexit done” and “move on.”

Speaking in Manchester in a keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference, Johnson said his government is submitting “constructive and reasonable proposals” to Brussels for an altered deal before the current divorce deadline of Oct. 31.

“We are tabling constructive and reasonable proposals in Brussels today,” Johnson said, pledging — on the contentious backstop issue — no checks on the Irish border.

“We will respect the peace process and Good Friday Agreement. We will protect farmers and businesses on both sides of the border,” Johnson added.

“And we will allow the U.K. whole and entire to leave.”

Calling his new plans a “compromise,” Johnson said the alternative to the new deal is a no-deal Brexit.

“I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn,” he continued. “Because if we fail to get an agreement because of what is essentially a technical discussion of the exact nature of future customs checks, when that technology is improving the whole time, then let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no deal.

“That is not an outcome we want. It is not an outcome we seek at all. But let me tell you this, conference, it is an outcome for which we are ready.”

The government is due to reveal the anticipated plans Wednesday afternoon.

Johnson is expected to start discussion of the new plans with EU leaders.

The leaked information on new plans suggests a lighter version of the backstop for Northern Ireland and the right to decide on alignment with the EU for the region’s yet-to-be-formed devolved government.

Based on the leaks, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has already dismissed Johnson’s plans, calling them a “non-starter.”

But Varadkar also said he would have a phone call with Johnson on Thursday evening.

EU officials have said they would not renegotiate the deal reached with Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May.

Johnson is expected to hold a Cabinet meeting on Thursday to take up the new plans with his ministers.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU on Oct. 31.
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