Boris says he has ‘obvious solution’ to Brexit and it’s ‘perfectly realistic’
Boris Johnson has boldly claimed he has an "obvious solution" to Brexit that is "perfectly realistic".
The frontrunner for Prime Minister today insisted he will succeed in three months where Theresa May failed in years of negotiation with the EU.
He said he would renegotiate the 585-page Brexit Withdrawal Agreement with the EU – to change arrangements for the Irish border.
Despite the mammoth scale of the battle, and the EU refusing to reopen the WA, he claimed he would make Brexit happen on time.
"We have to get out by October 31," deal or no deal, Mr Johnson declared.
Yet he also raised doubts over whether he'll keep his word.
Tellingly, he said it would be the wrong move "at this stage" to signal he will delay Brexit beyond October 31.
And he refused to promise he'll resign if he does delay Brexit past Halloween .
Mr Johnson made the comments in an interview with the BBC's The World at One – his first in the campaign.
He said he would push to renegotiate the controversial "backstop" clause of the Withdrawal Agreement, which set up checks along the Irish border.
Instead, he said, he would employ "maximum facilitation techniques" – so-called Max Fac – to have light-touch checks on goods.
"There are ways of doing this that do not require a hard border," he said.
And crucially he claimed he'd remove the issue from the Withdrawal Agreement – instead agreeing it at a later date.
He told the BBC it was "perfectly realistic" to renegotiate the agreement, despite the EU point-blank saying they won't do it.
Tory leadership election – first round results
- Boris Johnson – 114 MPs
- Jeremy Hunt – 43
- Michael Gove – 37
- Dominic Raab – 27
- Sajid Javid – 23
- Matt Hancock – 20
- Rory Stewart – 19
KNOCKED OUT (needed 17 to pass):
- Andrea Leadsom – 11
- Mark Harper – 10
- Esther McVey – 9
He said: "The solutions to the facilitations that need to be provided to enable that to take place and enable us to do a proper free trade deal with our friends and partners – those should not be pre-ordained by the backstop.
"They should be remitted into the implementation period for discussion after we have left and in the context of our negotiation of the Free Trade Deal.
"That is the obvious solution.
"It's something that is agreed on all sides of the House.
"Now I accept that at the moment the EU will say 'we can’t accept that, it’s not possible'. They’re bound to say that at present.
"I think that they will find a way forward.
"It would simply not be sensible for the EU and UK to part in that sort of disorderly way."
Despite his bold pledge Mr Johnson refused to say he'll quit if he delays Brexit past October 31.
Instead he said: "My commitment is to honour the will of the people and take this country out on October 31 and get this thing done."
And he tellingly said it would be wrong "at this stage" to suggest Brexit will be delayed.
He said: "It would be absolutely bizarre to signal at this stage that the UK government was willing once again to run-up the white flag and delay yet again."
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