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Tory leader hopeful refusing to rule out renegotiating EU deal

By Cormac McQuinn

Boris Johnson has dismissed warnings by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other EU leaders that the Brexit deal will not be renegotiated, saying "they would say that" and "let's see".

The Conservative leadership hopeful also reiterated his intention for the UK to leave the EU by the October 31 deadline.

Mr Johnson, who is competing with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the battle to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister, made the remarks to Sophy Ridge of Sky News.

She outlined how European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have said the Withdrawal Agreement won't be reopened.

She also said that Mr Varadkar said there is no Withdrawal Agreement without the backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

In recent days Mr Varadkar has also said the new prime minister would get a "fair hearing" from the Irish government and the EU, but insisted there would be no reopening of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Ms Ridge put it to Mr Johnson that if he's not willing to extend the deadline and the EU won't renegotiate, there will be a no-deal Brexit if he is prime minister.

Mr Johnson said he doesn't think EU leaders "are going to want a disorderly Brexit of any kind".

"It's not in their interests, There's no reason why they should want the sudden imposition of tariffs and quotas."

Asked if he was ignoring what they're saying, he replied: "Possibly it's the case that they would say that at this particular stage in the negotiations. You would expect them to say that kind of thing. It's a defunct agreement but there are some good bits… about citizens. We should pass that through.

"The money, the £39bn, I would suspend that in creative ambiguity and wait until we get a deal and then solve the problems of the Northern Irish border and all other borders."

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