Picture of what Boris Johnson's plan needs to look like

Andrew Cummings
October 3, 2019

With time running short, it is here: Boris Johnson's long-awaited counter-offer.

The Irish Prime Minister has warned that a no-deal Brexit could eventually stir sentiment for a united Ireland - an analysis rejected by unionist parties in the region.

Instead, the government suggested "the potential creation of an all-island regulatory zone on the island of Ireland, covering all goods including agrifoods".

Still, "we can, we must, and we will" leave the EU, Johnson pledged. He added that "both sides now need to consider whether there is sufficient willingness to compromise" to get a "rapid" deal done in time.

We'll gauge reactions from Britain, Ireland and the continent where France's Emmanuel Macron has led the charge against a Brexit deadline extension unless there's a tangible breakthrough.

What is Mr Johnson's solution?

Boris Johnson has insisted Britain is ready for a no-deal Brexit as he detailed his final offer to the EU27, and laid down the battle lines for a general election, in a rousing speech to his party's conference in Manchester.

A statement from the DUP, which remains in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservatives at Westminster, said the letter's contents provided a "basis for the European Union to continue in a serious and sustained engagement" with the British government that would not put the UK's internal market at risk.


At the heart of the proposals is honouring the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

This would involve some new customs checks on the island of Ireland, and for Northern Ireland to leave the EU's customs union and come out of the single market in all goods, apart from agri-food products and industrial products.

"We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland", he declared.

"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", he told a reception at the Conservative conference.

British negotiators will on Wednesday provide the European Commission with a detailed proposal to abolish the Irish backstop following weeks of the demands for hard details from Europe.

Simon Coveney, Ireland's deputy prime minister, said late on Tuesday that Johnson's idea was "no basis for an agreement", calling it "concerning, to say the least".

The proposal said it would be a "failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible" if the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

In his letter to Juncker, Mr Johnson said the proposals were "entirely compatible" with the maintenance of an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. "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", he said. The EU says that is inadequate.


Boris Johnson said this week he would worry about spending Christmas with his family after the country had left the European Union on 31 October.

"The sad truth is that voters have more say over I'm a Celebrity than they do over this House of Commons", Johnson added.

Johnson has devised a plan that tries to please both British lawmakers and leaders in Brussels and Dublin.

'We can not allow it to happen'.

British Labour's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell described Johnson's proposals as neither credible nor workable.

"It looks like these proposals are created to fail and that the UK Government is intent on pursuing a "no deal", Russell said.

'They are a cynical attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit'.


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