PM insists new Brexit plan is ‘reasonable’ as he rallies Tory faithful
Two borders plans proposals ‘provide a compromise for both sides’.
Boris Johnson vowed to “reboot” the UK’s politics as he set out his offer to Brussels for a Brexit compromise.
The Prime Minister said he had put forward “constructive and reasonable proposals” to resolve the Brexit deadlock.
But he warned Brussels that the UK was ready to leave without a deal on October 31 if the European Union refused to work with him on reaching an agreement.
In his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference Mr Johnson insisted his plan to replace the Irish backstop would “in no circumstances” result in checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland.
Mr Johnson said: “Today in Brussels we are tabling what I believe are constructive and reasonable proposals which provide a compromise for both sides.”
The plan involves a “two borders for four years” measure that will leave Northern Ireland in a relationship with Europe until 2025, according to The Daily Telegraph.
It accepts the need for both a regulatory border between Britain and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea for four years and customs checks between the North and the Irish Republic.
The plans would “respect the peace process and the Good Friday agreement”, Mr Johnson said.
“And by a process of renewable democratic consent by the executive and assembly of Northern Ireland we will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border.
Let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no deal Boris Johnson
“And at the same time we will allow the UK – whole and entire – to withdraw from the EU, with control of our own trade policy from the start.”
Mr Johnson acknowledged the plan represented a “compromise by the UK”.
“I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn,” he told the Manchester conference.
“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.”
Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, speaking late on Tuesday night, said this was “no basis for an agreement” and “concerning to say the least”.
Mr Johnson will speak to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan.
The commission said it will not “pre-empt any reaction” before having a chance to study the proposals.
Mr Johnson told the conference “we can, we must and we will” get Brexit done.
It was an opportunity to “reboot our politics, to relaunch ourselves into the world”.
Despite the “Surrender Bill” – the legislation passed into law aimed at blocking the Prime Minister from taking the UK out of the EU without a deal unless he has the consent of MPs – Mr Johnson insisted he would meet the October 31 deadline “come what may”.
He said that people felt they were being “taken for fools” by Westminster’s failure to honour the result of the 2016 referendum and warned of “grave consequences” if Brexit was not delivered.
He promised that delivering on the commitment to leave the EU would “answer the cry” of the 17.4 million who voted to leave, help areas that had been “left behind” and people who felt their views had “become unfashionable and unmentionable”.
In a speech intended to woo voters ahead of the election he has so far been blocked by MPs from calling, Mr Johnson:
– Insisted the Tories were “the party of the NHS” because it was also “the party of capitalism”.
– Branded Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour a party of “fratricidal, anti-Semitic Marxists”
– Said the Liberal Democrats’ idea of serving the national interest was to urge the EU “not to give this country a better deal”
– Claimed the pro-Brexit Tories would “turbocharge the Scottish fishing sector” while the SNP would hand back control to Brussels.
Mr Johnson, who skipped Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons to address the partisan crowd in Manchester, said Parliament was “on the blink”.
If it were a reality TV show “the whole lot of us would have been voted out of the jungle”, he said.
“The sad truth is that voters have more say over I’m a Celebrity than they do over this House of Commons.”
In a speech without any policy announcements apart from the promise of a Brexit plan, Mr Johnson sought to highlight clear dividing lines between himself and Mr Corbyn, his main rival for Number 10.
“If Jeremy Corbyn were allowed into Downing Street, he would whack up your taxes, he would foul up the economy, he would rip up the alliance between Britain and the USA, and he would break up the UK,” Mr Johnson said.
“We cannot allow it to happen”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “The Brexit proposals reportedly being considered by Boris Johnson are neither credible nor workable.
“They are a cynical attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit.”
Confederation of British Industry director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said Mr Johnson’s “optimistic vision for our country” relied on a good Brexit deal.
“The no deal turning ends in a very different place: a swamp that will slow the UK’s every step for years to come,” she warned.