PM denies leaked Brexit deadlock proposal is ‘actual’ plan

Boris Johnson has denied a leaked plan to break the Brexit deadlock rubbished by Ireland is the "actual" version he will propose soon to the EU.

The prime minister claimed the government "don't want" to set up new customs check posts 5-10 miles away from the Ireland-Northern Ireland border.

He vowed to "protect the integrity of the UK" and honour the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the island with his blueprint to be revealed to the EU after this week's Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

'We have to protect the integrity of UK'

The contentious idea came from discussion papers submitted to Brussels negotiators, which were leaked to the Irish broadcaster RTE.

It relates to the prime minister's promise to renegotiate Britain's current withdrawal agreement and demanded the abolition of the Irish border backstop arrangement.


The backstop is designed as an insurance mechanism to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland regardless of the future EU/UK trade relationship.

RTE reported on Monday night that Mr Johnson's plan to replace the backstop could include "customs clearance sites" on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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BALLYCONNELL, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 22: A Welcome to Northern Ireland sign is marked with bullet holes on February 22, 2019 in Ballyconnell, Ireland. Britain will leave the European Union on March 29 following the referendum in 2016. Many people in Northern Ireland are concerned about a return of a so called hard border which could lead to a return to the violence of the Troubles. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Image: The backstop is an insurance policy to prevent a hard border reforming

These could be perhaps five to ten miles back, the broadcaster added.

The plan was said to be included in one of four so-called "non-papers" submitted by UK officials during recent discussions in Brussels.

A non-paper is an informal document, usually used to test the reaction of other parties to possible solutions, without necessarily committing the proposer.

But Mr Johnson insisted the UK is still in the "early days" of negotiating the abolition of the backstop.

"We don't want to see new border posts just away from the border," he said on Tuesday.

"There may be some confusion about that."

He added the reported plans "don't actually relate to what we are going to table".

Image: Boris Johnson has vowed to scrap the backstop of part of any deal

Speaking in his country's parliament on Tuesday, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar welcomed Mr Johnson's comments.

"I very much welcome Prime Minister Johnson's words today when he disowned and distanced himself from those non-papers," he said.

"Had he not, in my view, it would have been hard evidence of bad faith on behalf of the British government."

Earlier, Ireland rubbished the plan reported by RTE,Read More – Source