Boris Johnson Warns of Violating Public Trust Without Brexit

British PM Boris Johnson says the UK can handle any bumps that come from tumbling out of the bloc without a deal.

2 min read
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers his leader’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, England. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will send what he called a "constructive and reasonable" compromise for a Brexit deal to the European Union, as he warned of grave consequences for trust in democracy if Britain fails to leave the bloc in less than a month.

British voters in 2016 narrowly chose to leave the EU but the country remains deeply divided over the departure terms.

In a speech to the Conservative Party's annual conference, Johnson underscored the fear of violating public belief in democracy should Brexit not happen. "After three and a half years, people are beginning to feel that they are being taken for fools," he told party members in Manchester, northern England.

The new British plans are likely to face deep skepticism from EU leaders, who doubt the UK has a workable plan to avoid checks on goods or people crossing the border between EU member Ireland and the UK’s Northern Ireland after Brexit.

The ‘Backstop’ Hurdle

Johnson insisted that there would not be customs checks at the border in Northern Ireland under the proposed deal, one of the main sticking points of the Brexit talks.

“We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland.”
Boris Johnson, British PM

A Brexit agreement between the EU and his predecessor, Theresa May, was rejected three times by the UK Parliament, largely because of opposition to the "backstop," an insurance policy designed to ensure there is no return to customs posts or other infrastructure on the Irish border.

  • Open border underpins both local economy and Northern Ireland’s peace process

  • Johnson and other British Brexit supporters oppose the backstop because it would keep the UK tightly bound to EU trade rules

  • Backstop will avoid customs checks — limiting the country's ability to strike new trade deals around the world.

So far, the UK has floated the idea of a common area for livestock and agricultural products, plus largely untested "technological solutions" as a replacement for the backstop.

'Can Handle No-Deal Exit'

“We have made huge progress and I hope very much that in the course of the next few days we are going to get there.”
Boris Johnson, British PM

Johnson says the UK can handle any bumps that come from tumbling out of the bloc without a deal, which would mean the instant imposition of customs checks and other barriers between Britain and the EU, its biggest trading partner.

Many lawmakers want to prevent a no-deal exit, and have passed a law that compels the government to seek a delay to Brexit if it can't get an agreement with the EU by 9 October. Johnson says he won't do that — though he also insists he will obey the law.

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