Pound falls to $1.20 as Boris Johnson sets out Brexit demands

Cheryl Sanders
August 21, 2019

Johnson has promised to take Britain out of the European Union on October 31 with or without an exit deal, likely setting himself up for a battle with parliament which has vowed to try and block a no-deal exit. Others critical of the UK PM, such as Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, claim his "alternative arrangements" are short on detail. "I think there is a real sense now that something needs to be done with this backstop", Johnson told reporters.

"Whichever Brexit outcome he pursues, whether it's a disastrous no deal or this fantasyland wishlist, Boris Johnson clearly has no qualms about putting jobs, rights, prosperity or peace in Northern Ireland at risk", he said.

The letter was published ahead of talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron later this week.

Johnson and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar spoke for almost an hour on Monday, as Varadkar emphasized that the need for a "legally operable guarantee" to prevent a hard border.

Mr Johnson said he still hoped for a compromise but would attack no-deal planning with "a lot of oomph".

He added: 'We will be looking at all the ways in which we can maintain frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border - whether it's trusted trader schemes, or electronic pre-clearing, or whatever it happens to be, all that kind of thing, checks away from the border, points of sale or whatever if you have to crack down on smuggling, all that kind of thing - but we will come up with those solutions, or agree those solutions I should say, in the context of the free-trade agreement.

He said the best solution was a pledge to put in place arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period, and that this could be agreed as part of a deal on Britain's future relationship with the EU.

Sinn Fein accused the Prime Minister of "rank hypocrisy", insisting a no-deal Brexit is what could endanger the peace, while the DUP said the European Union had to accept that political unionism would not accept the contentious measure.

Johnson, who has made similar statements in the past, formally delivered his demands to the EU late Monday in a letter to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. "Those who are against it and do not propose realistic alternatives actually support the reintroduction of a border".

Johnson wrote to Tusk on Monday night, outlining proposals for breaking the Brexit impasse, with the United Kingdom hurtling towards a European Union exit without a deal on October 31.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls on France and Germany to change their position on Brexit and negotiate a new exit deal for Britain, reiterating his stance that he is ready to leave the European Union without a deal if they do not. "Even if they do not admit it", Tusk tweeted.

"In his letter, Johnson described the backstop as "inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK", adding that the arrangement would be "anti-democratic" because it offered no means for the United Kingdom to unilaterally exit and no say for the people of Northern Ireland over the rules that would apply there".

Some pro-Brexit politicians have said it would make Britain a "vassal state".

The EU, which is not known for its speedy diplomacy, took only half a day to rebuff a four-page proposal by Johnson on breaking a deadlock over ensuring a transparent border between the EU's Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland.

"It is clear that unless the Withdrawal Agreement is reopened and the backstop abolished there is no prospect of a deal", a Downing Street spokesman said.

Other reports by iNewsToday