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Mon, 30 March 2020

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By Hft
By Dods General Election Hub 2019

Boris Johnson pledges no customs checks 'at or near' Irish border in compromise plea to Brussels

Boris Johnson pledges no customs checks 'at or near' Irish border in compromise plea to Brussels
4 min read

Boris Johnson has insisted the UK does not want to see customs checks "at or near" the Irish border as he called on the EU to "compromise" in order to strike a new Brexit deal.

In his first Conservative Party conference speech as Prime Minister, he warned Brussels that the UK was ready to walk away without a deal if it was not prepared to bend on its red lines.

Mr Johnson also insisted he will snub MPs' attempts to block a no-deal Brexit by taking the UK out of the European Union at the end of this month "come what may".

And he said that ordinary voters have had enough "dither and delay" and simply wanted to get Brexit over and done with as soon as possible.

His comments came as the Government formally delivered its final Brexit offer to the EU.

It is understood that the UK will propose setting up customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic, as well as a regulatory border in the Irish Sea to cover agriculture and food.

But in his 39-minute speech to the Tory faithful, Mr Johnson insisted that did not necessarily mean the building of new infrastructure on the border - a key red line for Brussels.

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

"We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland. We will respect the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement."

Mr Johnson confirmed that the Northern Ireland Assembly will be given a vote - thought to be in four years - on whether it wants to stick to EU trade rules or join with the UK in diverging from Brussels.

"We will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border," the PM said.

"And 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.

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

Confirming that he is prepared to dodge the Benn Act blocking no-deal, Mr Johnson went on: "What people want, what Leavers want, what Remainers want, what the whole world wants – is to be calmly and sensibly done with the subject, and to move on

"And that is why we are coming out of the EU on 31 October, come what may. Let’s get Brexit done. We can we must and we will."

In a speech unusually devoid of any new policy announcements, Mr Johnson also made clear the strategy he plans to pursue in the upcoming general election.

He made repeated attacks on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, insisting that his left-wing policies would be bad for the country.

The PM said: "Let’s get this thing done – and then let’s get ready to make our case to the country against the fratricidal anti-semitic Marxists who were in Brighton last week.

"Last week Jeremy Corbyn had a number of damaging and retrograde ideas in his speech

"He wants a four-day week - which would slash the wages of people on low incomes. Hhe wants to ban private schools and expropriate their property, even though it would cost the taxpayer seven billion to educate the kids

"He wants to stamp out excellence in schools by banning Ofsted - the inspectors who ensure that schools are safe for our children

"But he had one good idea - he had a whole paragraph repeating what he has said every week for the last three years. He wants an election now – or that is what he was going to say, poor fellow. The only trouble is that the paragraph was censored by John McDonnell or possibly Keir Starmer

"So we have the astonishing spectacle of the leader of the opposition being prevented by his colleagues from engaging in his constitutional function which is to try to remove me from office

"And in this age of creative litigation I am surprised that no one has yet sued him for breach of contract."

He added: "If Jeremy Corbyn were allowed into Downing Street, he would whack up your taxes, he would foul up the economy, he would rip up the alliance between Britain and the USA, and he would break up the UK

"We cannot allow it to happen."

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