British PM Boris Johnson makes ‘final’ Brexit offer

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his “final” offer Wednesday for a “fair and reasonable compromise” to get Britain out of the European Union.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers the keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester Wednesday where he vowed to have Britain divorce the European Union by Oct. 31. Photo by Hugo Philpott

Johnson dismissed claims that his plan would include checks at the border with Northern Ireland while also promising that Britain would have “control of our own trade policy from the start.”

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference for the first time as prime minister, he remained steadfast in his commitment to complete the Brexit process that began more than three years ago.

“Voters are desperate for us to focus on other priorities,” Johnson said. “What people want, what ‘Leavers’ want, what ‘Remainers’ want, what the whole world wants is to move on. Let’s get Brexit done — we can, we must and we will.”

He also said the alternative to not reaching an agreement would be a no-deal Brexit by Oct. 31.

“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,” Johnson said.

EU leaders in Belgium will receive legal documents Wednesday and if they don’t engage with the proposal there will be no further talks until after Oct. 31, Johnson said.

Rwarned British Parliament it cannot stop him from leaving without a deal, despite a law barring him from doing so without lawmakers’ approval.

“The EU is obliged by EU law only to negotiate with member state governments, they cannot negotiate with Parliament, and this government will not negotiate a delay,” Johnson said.

He said British voters don’t want to be “taken for fools” by those who want to block the process. He warned of “grave consequences for trust in democracy” if Brexit doesn’t happen.

Irish leaders have rejected the reported leaked version of the backstop plan, saying it includes customs for Ireland’s border and Northern Ireland. It would also put Northern Ireland in a different relationship than the rest of the European Union.

Irish leaders have rejected such a proposal while Johnson disputed that his plan would even do that.

“What we are talking about again is picking and choosing certain parts of the single market that would be aligned in Northern Ireland,” Ireland European affairs minister Helen McEntee said. “It is talking about a time limit, which again is not acceptable.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris