Boris Johnson will set out details of his “final” negotiating offer to the EU on Wednesday in pursuit of a “fair and reasonable” Brexit compromise.
The prime minister will address the Tory conference before submitting new proposals, intended to form the legal text of a new Brexit deal, to Brussels.
Only by leaving the EU on 31 October can the UK “move on”, he will argue.
The public will no longer be “taken for fools” by those who want to delay or block the process, he will claim.
On the eve of his speech, Johnson told a conference fringe meeting in Manchester, hosted by the DUP, that he hoped to reach a deal with the EU over the course of “the next few days”.
Johnson will lay down a “take it or leave it” ultimatum to Brussels on Wednesday, warning he will take the UK out of the European Union without a deal if it is rejected.
If the EU is unwilling to “engage” with the final offer, there will be no further negotiation and Britain will leave without a deal in 29 days’ time on 31 October, said Downing Street.
The government has insisted it will not negotiate a further delay beyond the Halloween deadline, saying this would be unnecessary and costly for the UK.
British officials have made clear to EU counterparts that the legal texts which will be presented to the European Union are a final offer and unless Brussels is prepared to engage there will be no more talks until after Brexit.
Reports suggested that the UK offer included provisions for Northern Ireland to follow EU single market rules for agricultural and industrial goods for four years after the end of the expected transition period in 2021, during which Britain would be expected to diverge from the EU.
According to accounts of the offer obtained by the Daily Telegraph, Northern Ireland would at the end of that four-year period in 2025 be free either to move closer to Great Britain’s trading arrangements at the cost of a harder border with the Republic, or continue with the existing arrangement.
Johnson is avoiding Wednesday’s regular session of Prime Minster’s Questions to deliver his conference speech after MPs refused to vote for a Commons recess for the Tory gathering.
The speech, which was still having finishing touches put to it on Tuesday, will also be used by Johnson to target Labour.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares his keynote speech which he’ll deliver to the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Britain, 01 October 2019. EPA-EFE/Stefan Rousseau / Press Association / POOL