Boris Johnson has insisted he is “confident” of securing fresh Brexit concessions from the EU, as he prepares for key meetings with European leaders. 

The prime minister will meet Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, later this week as he seeks to convince the EU to reopen negotiations on the Brexit deal.

Despite Brussels’ ongoing refusal to discuss changes to the agreement, Mr Johnson said he believed EU leaders would eventually back down and agree to amend the Northern Ireland backstop as part of a new withdrawal deal.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

The prime minister will meet Ms Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday before travelling to Paris on Thursday to meet Mr Macron.

He will hold further talks with the pair, along with other world leaders, at the G7 summit in Biarritz, which is starting on Saturday.

No10 said Mr Johnson would use the meetings to emphasise his commitment to delivering Brexit by 31 October whatever the circumstances.

Mr Johnson’s bold words come after a leaked government dossier revealed the possible chaos that could follow a no-deal exit, including major delays at the UK border, a hard border in Northern Ireland, and shortages of some foods, medicines and fuel.

It also emerged the prime minister held almost an hour-long phone call with his Irish counterpart, Leo Vardakar, on Monday evening, ending with the two leaders agreeing to meet in Dublin early next month. 

According to No 10, Mr Johnson indicated the Brexit withdrawal agreement in its current form will not get through the Commons, and that the "backstop would need to be removed". 

But they admitted the talks remained deadlocked with Brussels, as Mr Varadkar also reiterated the EU's position that the agreement "cannot be reopened".

Mr Johnson said earlier on Monday the matter of whether his meetings with EU leaders resulted in a Brexit breakthrough was “very much up to our friends”, and added: “I hope that they will compromise.”

The UK will be “ready” to leave the bloc without a deal on 31 October, he insisted.

A Downing Street spokesperson said Mr Johnson would use his meetings with Ms Merkel and Mr Macron to urge them to allow changes to the backstop.

They said: “He has been clear that there cannot be any actual negotiations unless the backstop goes, and that’s the message he has delivered to leaders in his phone conversations and he will do that face-to-face.

“We have been clear that what the EU needs to understand is that unless the withdrawal agreement can be reopened and the backstop abolished there isn’t any prospect of a deal.”

Labour has demanded that parliament be recalled from its summer break to debate the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Downing Street rejected the calls, and said MPs had previously approved the dates of the summer recess.

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...