G7 Summit: Johnson Stands Firm on Brexit
Speaking with reporters during the G7 Summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the chances of a Brexit deal are “improving.”
“I think in the last few days we’ve actually had quite a lot of success in landing some messages about what the UK can do and can’t do,” said Johnson, adding that a successful deal will depend on cooperation from the bloc.
“I think at the moment there’s a reasonable chance that we’ll get a deal, but in order to get that deal…we’ve got to prepare to come out without one,” he added, warning MPs against trying to block a no-deal Brexit.
“The Prime Minister has been repeatedly clear that parliamentarians and politicians don’t get to choose which public votes they respect,” said a government official.
A major sticking point for Johnson is the “Irish backstop,” an EU proposal that cements the bloc’s rules in Northern Ireland and ties the UK economy to the bloc.
On Sunday, European Council President Donald Tusk told Johnson the EU would consider “realistic” alternatives to the backstop as long as they are “immediately operational.”
Johnson added that a no-deal Brexit would be the EU’s fault (Tusk thinks otherwise) and would free the UK from having to pay the agreed-upon £39 billion divorce bill.
Once the UK leaves the bloc, said Johnson, it will have the freedom to reduce taxes, improve regulation, and negotiate new trade deals.
President Donald Trump has promised to strike a “fantastic” deal with the UK if they can separate themselves from the bloc.
Such a deal would need to go well beyond “just trade in goods, in agriculture,” said Johnson. “If you’re a British architect or insurance company, you have unbelievable barriers to establishing in the US in the way that an American architect or an American lawyer or whatever does not face barriers in the UK.”
“I have long experience with the Americans as trade negotiators,” added Johnson. “They are formidable.”
In the meantime, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is hoping to block a no-deal Brexit by winning a vote of no confidence against Johnson. From there, he proposes leading a temporary government to extend Article 50 while a general election is held. During the election, his party will argue to hold a second Brexit referendum.