PM’S ‘TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT’ BREXIT DEAL TO EU
BORIS Johnson will today make his final offer of a Brexit deal to the EU.
As he unveils the longawaited details of his new divorce proposal, the Prime Minister will insist his blueprint is a “fair and reasonable compromise”.
Vowing to finally bring the Brexit wrangle to a conclusion, he will also signal that negotiations will be immediately cancelled if the EU refuses to discuss his offer seriously.
In his first keynote speech as the
party leader, the Prime Minister will tell the Tory conference: “Let’s get Brexit done on October 31 so in 2020, our country can move on.”
He will also hit out at the “forces in this country” who are seeking to stop Brexit, warning that voters are becoming fed up of “being taken for fools”.
The legal texts for a new deal – drawn up in the 70 days since Mr Johnson took charge – will be presented to Brussels this afternoon.
Downing Street officials made clear the documents will represent his final offer for a deal and said the EU will not be given the option of a Brexit delay.
In his speech, Mr Johnson is expected to say: “Voters are desperate for us to focus on their other priorities. What people want – what Leavers want, what Remainers want, what the whole world wants – is to move on.
“That is why we are coming out of the EU on October 31. Let’s get Brexit done – we can, we must and we will.”
It emerged last night that EU leaders are considering making a counter-offer that involves keeping the Irish backstop border mechanism, but putting a time limit on it.
The move is certain to be rejected by the Prime Minister, who has insisted that removing the backstop – which could keep the UK tied into a customs union – is his red-line demand in the negotiations.
Under the plan being discussed in Brussels, Northern Ireland would be kept in the EU’s customs union for a limited period of time if a free trade deal and border arrangement cannot agreed by the end of next year.
The time limit would be granted to allow the Stormont Assembly a say in whether the province remains in the backstop.
EU leaders have been hesitant to offer the compromise because of Irish premier Leo Varadkar’s opposition to the plan.
Dublin has long argued that any time-limited mechanism would cease to be a backstop.
The Prime Minister is also expected to launch a blistering attack on Jeremy Corbyn for threatening to plunge the UK into more chaos by offering fresh votes on the country’s EU membership and Scottish independence.
“Corbyn wants to turn the whole of 2020, which should be a great year for this country, into the chaos and cacophony of two more referendums – a second referendum on Scottish independence, even though the people of Scotland were promised that the 2014 vote would be a once-in-a-generation vote, and a second referendum on the EU, even though we were promised that the 2016 vote would be a once-in-a-generation vote,” the Prime Minister will say.
“Can you imagine another three of this? That is the Corbyn agenda – stay in the EU beyond October 31, paying £1billion a month for the privilege, followed by years of uncertainty for business and everyone else. My friends, I am afraid that after three-and-a-half years, people are beginning to feel that they are being taken for fools.
“They are beginning to suspect there are forces in this country that simply don’t want Brexit delivered at all. And if they turn out to be right in that suspicion, then I believe there will be grave consequences for trust in democracy.”
Downing Street officials yesterday warned that if Brussels does not engage with Mr Johnson’s latest offer, then the Government will not negotiate further until we have left the EU.
They also made it clear that the Prime Minister will in no circumyears
stances negotiate a delay at the forthcoming EU Council summit in Brussels on October 17.
A senior No 10 official last night said: “The Government is either going to be negotiating a new deal or working on no-deal – nobody will work on delay.
“We will keep fighting to respect the biggest democratic vote in British history.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 delay.”
Mr Johnson was still finalising the text of his hour-long conference speech last night. He is understood to have turned down help from speechwriters, instead choosing to write the entire address himself.
In contrast to his predecessors – who have staff working on drafts months in advance – Mr Johnson has worked at break-neck speed to write the speech during the Conservative conference.
And despite recent criticism of his forthright approach, he is not expected to shy away from using tough language to fight back against his opponents. He will also hit out at the so-called “Surrender Act” passed by MPs in their effort to block a no-deal Brexit.
In a video message published online last night, Mr Johnson told how the Government was investing in the biggest programme of hospital infrastructure in a generation, as well as boosting broadband and raising salaries.
“We want a high wage, high skilled, low tax, high productivity economy.That’s our plan,” he said.
“We are doing it with infrastructure, with technology and world class education.”
IN A period of political history where something “historic” seems to have happened on a near daily basis, it feels difficult to use the adjective. But today’s speech to the Conservative Party conference by Boris Johnson will be a historic moment – and, unusually for these times, that description is appropriate for positive reasons.
The Prime Minister’s “take-it-or-leave-it” offer to the EU is not as the whining and perpetually negative Remainers may have it like some sort of Mafia boss making dark threats. Instead, what Mr Johnson is offering the Brussels bureaucrats is a final chance at a rational, reasonable way out of this deadlock where both sides can walk away with their honour intact and a settlement that will benefit everybody.
The alternative must be a clean break Brexit – or no deal as the authors of the “Surrender Act” term it – because Mr Johnson has pledged that come what may we will be leaving the EU on October 31.
While that may cause a blip in Britain which it can easily recover from, it certainly will not be the apocalypse depicted by the EU’s Remainer friends.
On the contrary, and particularly for Ireland, it could be catastrophic for the EU economically and through the gaping whole left in its security and intelligence set-up.
Mr Johnson’s leadership from the moment he stepped into Downing Street has been focused and admirable.
He has refused to be deflected by the attacks on his character, attempts to derail and block Brexit by Labour and its Remainer allies in Parliament, or the bid to shut down debate.
Now it is up to the EU to accept compromise and be reasonable so that the greatest democratic decision in British history can be respected in a way that benefits everyone.
Salute...Boris Johnson at the Tory conference yesterday
Cup winner...a beaming Boris proudly holds up his Brexit mug