Boris Johnson tells Irish PM Britain will leave October 31 ‘no matter what’

The new British prime minister told his counterpart in Dublin that the UK will leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told his counterpart in Ireland Leo Varadkar that the UK will leave the European Union on October 31 ‘no matter what’ and that the Irish backstop must be scrapped in any new deal.

‘The prime minister made clear that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, no matter what,’ said a statement from Johnson’s office regarding a phone call between the two leaders.

‘The prime minister made clear that the government will approach any negotiations which take place with determination and energy and in a spirit of friendship, and that his clear preference is to leave the EU with a deal, but it must be one that abolishes the backstop,’ he added.

Irish PM support crucial to securing Brexit deal

Johnson’s clash with Varadkar, as well as his hard stance on the so-called Irish backstop being scrapped makes the likelihood of Britain securing a deal with the EU challenging.

A spokesman for Varadkar said: ‘The taoiseach emphasised to the prime minister that the backstop was necessary as a consequence of decisions taken in the UK and by the UK government.

‘Noting that the Brexit negotiations take place between the UK and the EU, the taoiseach explained that the EU was united in its view that the withdrawal agreement could not be reopened.

‘Alternative arrangements could replace the backstop in the future, as envisaged in the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration on the future relationship, but thus far satisfactory options have yet to be identified and demonstrated.’

Irish PM insists on Irish backstop remaining

Varadkar has previously said that he would not support a deal with the EU without the Irish backstop provision in place.

Eurosceptic lawmakers, however, refuse to accept the backstop, contending that it has the power to leave the UK trapped in the EU customs union indefinitely.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘On Brexit, the prime minister made clear that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, no matter what.

‘He said that in all scenarios, the government will be steadfast in its commitment to the Belfast agreement and will never put physical checks or physical infrastructure on the border.’

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