Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged ahead of a crunch meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that the UK will leave the EU on October 31st — “deal or no deal”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with Mr Juncker in his native Luxembourg this afternoon where he will say he wants a renegotiated exit treaty with the EU, but “would not countenance any more delays” to Brexit, a Downing Street source told the BBC.
“The PM will stress to Mr Juncker that, while he wants to secure a deal, if no deal can be agreed by October 18 his policy is to leave without a deal on October 31 — and reject any delay offered by the EU,” the said.
Johnson’s government claims it is close to negotiating a new deal, with foreign secretary Dominic Raab saying on BBC Radio 4.s Today programme that today’s meeting with the Eurocrat was a “significant milestone” and “the contours of a deal are now very clear”.
However, Mr Raab was insistent that in relation to the Irish backstop, which could hold the UK in regulatory alignment with the EU after Brexit, that it must be removed.
“Our requirements are very clear: we want to remove the anti-democratic backstop and we want to be able to transition our future relationship to a best in class free trade agreement,” Raab said, adding that the UK hopes to sign off on a new deal during the European Summit in mid-October. If not, he stipulated, the country would still leave on October 31st.
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Mr Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal by that date; but the prime minister has been coming under increasing pressure from Remainers to force him to back down on his pledge. Last month, Parliament passed a law forcing Johnson to ask for an extension to Article 50 in order to stop a no deal Brexit, while Labour blocked a snap election, which would have cleared out the Commons of parliamentary Europhiles determined to thwart the will of the people. Just last week, a Scottish court ruled against the prime minister’s decision to suspend parliament, with the Supreme Court to begin considering the legality of the move on Tuesday.
Writing in The Telegraph, Prime Minister Johnson condemned that “large number of MPs” who are “simply trying to crush Brexit”.
“In spite of all that they promised – and voted for – they just want to stop this country from ever leaving the European Union,” he continued, observing: “We are witnessing an attempt to humiliate the verdict of the nation.”
Condemning the “Surrender Act” — which will force the prime minister to seek a third extension of Brexit on October 19th if a new deal is not sealed during the European Summit on the 17th and 18th — Boris Johnson said it was “making any Brexit deal harder to achieve. That is because the very purpose of the Act is to weaken the UK’s negotiating hand in Brussels, and to give crucial cards to the EU.”
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“If we can make enough progress in the next few days, I intend to go to that crucial summit… and finalise an agreement that will protect the interests of business and citizens on both sides of the channel, and on both sides of the border in Ireland,” the prime minister wrote.
However, Mr Juncker dismissed claims that his first meeting with prime minister will result in a renegotiated deal, specifically on the Irish border issue, saying Britain’s suggestions to be “not workable proposals”, with the European Commission president having told German media earlier that renegotiating the treaty “will not be possible” and that any changes or concessions “connected with [its] content and substance” would not be made.