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Johnson to submit new proposals to EU

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UK Prime Minister pledges he will take Britain out of the EU 'come what may'

MANCHESTER British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday unveiled some proposals for an amended Brexit agreement with the European Union, though he remained fairly opaque on the details.

Speaking at his Conservative Party's annual conference yesterday, he said he was submitting "constructive and reasonable proposals" to the EU and he hoped that Brussels would also find room to compromise to secure a deal.

"Today in Brussels, we are tabling what I believe are constructive and reasonable proposals, which provide a compromise for both sides," he said.

"And yes this is a compromise by the UK, and I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn."

Mr Johnson said it was time to get Brexit done, pledging again that he would take Britain out of the European Union on Oct 31 "come what may".

"We are coming out of the EU on Oct 31, come what may... let's get Brexit done," he said.

The 500km land border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland has become the sticking point in efforts to agree on the terms of an orderly British exit from the European Union.

Ireland says an invisible border is a key national interest as any checks or infrastructure on the frontier could undermine Northern Ireland's 1998 peace deal, known as the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Johnson said his proposals will not include plans for customs infrastructure at the border.

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

"We will respect the peace process and the Good Friday agreement."


He said that the Northern Irish assembly would be given a "renewable" say over regulatory arrangements.

Britain, he said, would leave the EU "whole and entire".

"By a process of renewable democratic consent by the executive and assembly of Northern Ireland, we will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border," Mr Johnson said.

"At the same time, we will allow the UK - whole and entire - to withdraw from the EU, with control of our own trade policy from the start," he said.

Mr Johnson ruled out holding a second Brexit referendum.

"A second referendum on the EU? Can you imagine? Another 3 years of this?" he said.

Britain's main opposition Labour Party dismissed Brexit proposals reportedly being considered by Mr Johnson as neither credible nor workable.

"They are a cynical attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit," Labour's economic policy chief John McDonnell said in a statement shortly after Mr Johnson delivered the speech.

So what exactly was Mr Johnson up to? According to CNN analyst Luke McGee, Mr Johnson is politically stuck.

He said: "He wants to get a Brexit deal, but one that makes him look like he forced Brussels to back down.

"It needs it to be soft enough that opposition lawmakers will vote for it in the House of Commons, but firm enough that it's not seen as a sellout by his own hardline Brexiteers.

"He also needs to signal to voters that he has done everything in his power to drag Brexit over the line, while demonstrating to Brexit moderates that he has not been irresponsible." - REUTERS