MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday unveiled some proposals for an amended Brexit agreement with the European Union.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he gives a closing speech at the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, Britain, October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Here is a summary of what he said:
Johnson said he was submitting “constructive and reasonable proposals” to the EU and that he hoped that Brussels would also find room to compromise to secure a deal.
“Today in Brussels we are tabling what I believe are constructive and reasonable proposals, which provide a compromise for both sides,” he said.
“And yes this is a compromise by the UK, and I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn.”
TIME TO DELIVER BREXIT
Johnson said it was time to get Brexit done, pledging again that he would take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 “come what may”.
“We are coming out of the EU on October 31, come what may… let’s get Brexit done,” he said. “We can we must and we will.”
NO CHECKS AT IRISH BORDER
The 500-km (300-mile) land border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland has become the sticking point in efforts to agree on the terms of an orderly British exit from the European Union.
Ireland says an invisible border is a key national interest as any checks or infrastructure on the frontier could undermine Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace deal, known as the Good Friday Agreement.
Johnson said his proposals will not include plans for customs infrastructure at the border.
“We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland,” he said. “We will respect the peace process and the Good Friday agreement.”
He said that the Northern Irish assembly would be given a “renewable” say over regulatory arrangements. The United Kingdom, he said, would leave the EU “whole and entire”.
“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,” Johnson said.
“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,” he said.
EU NEEDS TO COMPROMISE
Johnson said the EU needs to prepared to accept new technology to solve the issue of preventing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
He said if the EU fail to be more flexible then he is ready to take Britain out of the bloc without a divorce deal.
“If we fail to get an agreement because of what is essentially a technical discussion of the exact nature of future customs checks,” he said.
“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.”
NO SECOND REFERENDUM
Johnson ruled out holding a second Brexit referendum.
“A second referendum on the EU? Can you imagine? Another 3 years of this?,” he said.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Guy Faulconbridge