Boris Johnson, United Nations, European Union

Boris Johnson, United Nations

Boris Johnson plays down chance of Brexit breakthrough at UN

Boris Johnson plays down chance of Brexit breakthrough at UN

9/23/2019 8:14:00 AM

Boris Johnson plays down chance of Brexit breakthrough at UN

Despite a series of planned meetings with European leaders, the PM says there are ‘still difficulties’ over an agreement

The prime minister, who is scheduled to meet the European Council president, Donald Tusk, and a string of leaders of EU nations over the next two days at the UN general assembly (UNGA), insisted that his overall “cautiously optimistic” stance of securing a deal remained unchanged.

A-Level results: These students were predicted to get As - but an algorithm threw their futures into chaos Gavin Williamson under pressure to resign over A-level results 'fiasco' Stacey Solomon admits she is feeling 'lost' and has been 'beating herself up'

But speaking to reporters on the plane to New York after suggestions of a possible compromise over the vexed issue of the Irish border seemed doused by EU scepticism, Johnson conceded there were “still gaps, still difficulties” over how to solve this.

“I would caution you all not to think this is going to be the moment,” he said. “I don’t wish to elevate excessively the belief that there will be a New York breakthrough. I’m not getting pessimistic – we will be pushing ahead, but there is still work to be done.”

The sticking point remains the seemingly irreconcilable demands of the two sides over the Irish border.The EU insists it cannot not allow a deal which could eventually see checkpoints between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, potentially breaching the Good Friday peace deal, while Downing Street has vowed to remove the backstop, which provides an insurance policy over a frictionless border if no permanent solution can be found.

The UK has floated the idea of some access for food and agricultural produce, with yet-to-be-finalised arrangements for non-frontier checks on other goods when a post-deal transition period would finish at the end of 2020, something the EU believes is far too woolly to be credible.

Johnson appeared to rule out the idea of extending to manufactured goods the same flexibility given so-called sanitary and phytosanitary products, or agrifoods, as summed up by a much-quoted unionist maxim that while Northern Ireland’s people were British, its cows were Irish.

Asked if Northern Irish “widgets” could be similarly Irish, Johnson said: “What you wouldn’t want to do is peer into the soul of a widget and enquire too deeply as to its nationality under any circumstances. But what you might want to do is ensure that the UK, whole and entire, was able in future to diverge from EU law if it had to. That’s the crucial thing.”

Government removes 1.3m coronavirus tests from daily data after double counting error Iran condemns Trump's Middle East peace deal Trump accused of 'white supremacy' for pushing baseless Kamala Harris birther conspiracy

Johnson argued he had made considerable progress as prime minister, with EU leaders saying “they no longer necessarily have an attachment to the backstop”.He said: “That’s very encouraging. We’ve seen interest in the idea of treating the island of Ireland as a single zone for sanitary and phytosanitary purposes, and that’s also encouraging.

“However, there are clearly still gaps, still difficulties. What we are working for – and we can see the way to do it – is a solution that enables the UK and the EU respect the principles of the single market, to allow an open border in Northern Ireland, to respect the achievements of the Northern Irish peace process, but also to allow the whole of the UK to come out of the EU.

“And there is a way to do that. I think colleagues around the table in Brussels can see how we might do that. What it will take is the political will to get there, and I think it’s fair to say I’m still in the same position I was – I think cautiously optimistic is about right,”

As well as Tusk, on Monday and Tuesday at the UNGA summit Johnson is due to have a joint meeting with Emmanuel Macron of France and Germany’s Angela Merkel, as well as the Irish leader, Leo Varadkar, and the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Belgium, Mark Rutte and Charles Michel.

He dismissed the idea that individual EU states might take a more conciliatory line than Tusk, saying: “We in the UK government respect the primacy of the European Commission when it comes to doing these negotiations.”Overall, Johnson argued, the EU did not seem particularly dogmatic over what kind of deal emerged, so long as one could be reached.

“What I’m finding is so interesting is I think that our friends and partners, provided we get the right deal, are not actually interested in that outcome,” he said. “I think that they will be happy for us to have a relationship of equals, working together to build a new partnership.”

Man shot dead outside London home in 'senseless violent attack' named by police Eurotunnel warns travellers: Don't just turn up AOC tears into Trump over 'white supremacist' birther theory about Kamala Harris Read more: The Guardian »

Coronavirus: UK secures early access to 90 million doses of two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates

The deals mean the UK now has agreements with the firms behind six potential vaccines for the disease.


Boris Johnson set to 'put Brexit deal in Queen's speech' to win over rebelsThe government is reported to view the measure as the ‘best hope’ of ensuring Britain leaves the EU on October 31. So ...The Queen has Johnson writing her speech? And the ‘Rebels’ are likely to be swayed by the Queen ...

Boris Johnson insists he has workable Brexit plan after EU rebuffs backstop requestNew York visit will feature face-to-face talks with Donald Trump as well as meetings with Merkel, Macron, Varadkar and Tusk You can not believe a single word that comes out of him... It must be hard to overwrite the word 'May' with 'Johnson.' Really small letters. Stu warned us:

Priest gives Irish PM holy water ahead of Brexit talks with Boris JohnsonIn an off-the-cuff, light-hearted remark, Leo Varadkar asked Father Richard Gibbons: 'Do I throw it over him?' And some potatoes He's a Hulk not a Vampire Sláinte

Boris Johnson tried to claim his 'no press here' lie at a London hospital wasn't embarrassingBarely hot off the heels of using a bunch of police officers to try and improve his image (leading to one of them to pass out), the prime minister yesterday tried to repeat the trick with NHS workers. Very common in this days agree, it was bloody hilarious, foot'n'mouth strikes again And the press still love him....

Boris Johnson plans to give extra jail time to sex fiends who refuse to name victimsBORIS Johnson plans to turbo-charge plans to give extra jail time to depraved paedophiles who refuse to name their victims. The Prime Minister plans to introduce a bill next month which would penal… Now we know one of the reasons why Boris is so hated. I've seen this movie before. Christian jazz manage rock mistakes ignorance Fuck the extra time. They should be held indefinitely until they reveal this information. How can they preach remorse if they are not being fully accountable for their crimes.

Boris Johnson urged to justify 'awarding public funds to close friend'PM allegedly gave money and access to trade missions to US entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri while mayor He’ll likely justify by saying..... it’s none of your business 🇬🇧. totalitarian liar putinlover trumptwin Like his premiership, the whole thing stinks.💩💩💩