Boris Johnson’s team will tomorrow present its formal proposals to the EU, telling Brussels officials it will be “the final offer” before the Halloween Brexit deadline.
The Prime Minister will use his major speech at the Conservative conference in Manchester tomorrow to outline what he calls a “fair and reasonable compromise” to the party faithful.
Details of the legal text are being kept under wraps until the mid-morning speech. However it is thought the proposals will include the UK’s recommendations that technology and trusted traders’ schemes could facilitate customs checks away from the Irish border, which both sides have pledged will not “harden” as a result of Brexit.
Other suggestions are likely to include joint surveillance of the market in manufactured goods, with severe penalties for those who are seeking to import into either market goods that are not compliant, and an all-Ireland sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) or agrifood zone. Approximately 30 per cent of the goods passing through the border are agricultural.
Johnson is expected to say: “Voters are desperate for us to focus on their other priorities – what people want, what leavers want, what remainers want, what the whole world wants – is to move on.
“That is why we are coming out of the EU on October 31. Let’s get Brexit done – we can, we must and we will.”
He will contrast his position with that of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who would lead the country “into the chaos and cacophony of two more referendums” – one on Brexit and one on Scotland.
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Warning that further delay would cause “grave consequences for trust in democracy,” Johnson will add: “Let’s get Brexit done on October 31 so in 2020 our country can move on.”
But while the Prime Minister’s pledge for a “new deal or no deal, but no delay” might go down well in Manchester, Brussels and Dublin have already indicated a less encouraging position, with EU sources telling CityAM they remained sceptical that a convincing alternative to the Irish backstop could be found.
Ahead of the submission of the legal texts, Downing Street officials including sherpa David Frost have stressed that if Brussels does not engage with the offer made tomorrow, “this government will not negotiate further until we have left the EU”.
The team has also made it clear that the Prime Minister will “in no circumstances negotiate a delay at the EU Council”, which kicks off on 17 October.
A senior Number 10 official said: “The government is either going to be negotiating a new deal or working on no deal — nobody will work on delay. We will keep fighting to respect the biggest democratic vote in British history.
“The EU is obliged by EU law only to negotiate with member state governments, they cannot negotiate with Parliament, and this government will not negotiate delay.”
Main image: Getty