UK: Boris Johnson presents new Brexit deal

Simon Coveney and Boris Johnson at Iveagh House

British Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Steve Barclay has said all real talks had to start by this weekend to stand any chance of securing a deal before EU leaders meet in Brussels on October 17 and 18.

"It would be one monumental climb-down by the EU to go from a customs union backstop for either the whole of the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland with no time limit to a plan that does not entail a customs union and requires some form of border checks that has a potential rolling four-year time-limit attached", MUFG analysts said in a note.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the bloc's failure to listen to his new proposal would result in it sharing the blame for a likely chaotic divorce.

Downing Street said the proposals to address problems with the Irish border were the "broad landing zone" and the "basis for discussion" after Number 10 sources had previously claimed they represented a final offer to Brussels.

Instead, Ireland envisages a "consultative role" for the Northern Ireland regional assembly.

"Will the Prime Minister point to one business that moves goods in Northern Ireland that supports his plan?", asked Ms. Berger.

In stark terms, he said the Prime Minister's plan did not form the basis for a deal.

Irish leader Leo Varadkar told reporters that the new Brexit plans "fall short in a number of aspects".

"Why would other parties buy into an Executive if they believe that Executive could essentially prevent solutions linked to Brexit?"

UK Brexit minister Steve Barclay has said all real talks had to start by this weekend to stand any chance of securing a deal before European Union leaders met in Brussels on October 17.

He said the plans represent "a genuine attempt to bridge the chasm, to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable and to go the extra mile as time runs short", with a deal effectively needing to be agreed before an October 17 summit of European Union leaders.

Adding that Johnson's plans are "not serious or workable", Corbyn said they would "undermine the Good Friday agreement" in Ireland and lead to a "race to the bottom" on workers' rights.

European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU was "fully behind Ireland" over the latest Brexit plan and "unconvinced" by Boris Johnson's latest border proposals.

But he is facing headwinds from Europe and his own Parliament.

The Brexit Steering Group he chairs said the proposals "do not match even remotely" what was required.

"But...if that is the final proposal, there will be no deal", Coveney told parliament.

A senior European Union official said today that Johnson's last-ditch Brexit proposal "can't fly".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the four-year limit "is the one that we believe is sensible".

"Any consent mechanism and democracy mechanism must reflect the views of the majority of people in Ireland and Northern Ireland", said the Taoiseach.

Besides the concession, however, Johnson proposed giving Northern Ireland's institutions the ongoing power to abide by or exit the regulatory zone - a possible step too far for Ireland and the EU.

This would create a regulatory barrier for goods crossing the Irish Sea and create a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - but Mr Johnson has insisted there would be no need for checks or infrastructure at the frontier.



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