Boris Johnson has laid down the gauntlet to EU negotiators after promising there would be no checkpoints on the Northern Ireland side of the Irish border.
Speaking after his meeting with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin this morning, Johnson said he hopes the EU will follow suit and avoid building border installations.
“As someone who went to the border several times before the Good Friday Agreement and shuddered to see watch towers on UK soil, I can say now as I’ve said many times before, the UK will never, ever institute checks at the border and I hope our friends in the EU would say the same.
“Can we uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement in all its particulars? Again, I say the answer is yes and our commitment in the UK to the peace process is unshakeable, “he added.
The Tory leader reiterated that the UK would have to leave on October 31st, as anything else would “damage” democracy, according to Johnson, but the British PM insisted that the backstop would have to be removed from any withdrawal agreement.
“The landing zone is clear to everyone – we need to find a way that the UK does not get locked in the backstop arrangement”, he said.
Leo Varadkar said that if a deal is not agreed when Brexit occurs, “it will cause severe disruption for British and Irish people alike, not so much on the continent, and, whatever happens, we will have to get back to the negotiating table quite quickly.”
“And when we do, the first items on the agenda will be citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border, all issues which we had resolved in the Withdrawal Agreement made with your predecessor…,” he added.