Boris Johnson has said he hopes the EU will “show common sense” and agree a new Brexit deal, as No 10 refused to rule out scheduling an election in the first days after leaving the EU on 31 October if Johnson loses a confidence motion.
The prime minister said he still hoped to broker a compromise with the EU, days after it was reported Brussels officials now believed the UK was heading full tilt toward crashing out without a deal with no serious efforts being made to renegotiate.
“I’m sure there is compromise to be found and, as we’ve made clear, the backstop just doesn’t work for a proud democracy like the UK,” Johnson told the BBC. “We don’t want to go down that route. But there’s every possibility for the EU to show flexibility. There’s bags of time for them to do it and I’m confident they will.”
He maintained the UK was working very hard to get a deal and “conversations are going on the whole time” but that the backstop would turn the UK into a satellite state.
“We need change on that. Once we get change on that, we’re at the races and I think there is a good deal to be done,” he said.
Asked whether there were any circumstances in which he would hold a general election before 31 October, Johnson dodged the question and said the public wanted MPs to honour the referendum result.
“I think the people of this country have had an election in 2015, they had a referendum in 2016, they had another election in 2017,” he said. “What they want to see now is the politicians they returned to Westminster – virtually all of whom promised to uphold that mandate to come out of the EU – what they want to do is see them do exactly that and leave the EU on October 31.” Read more