The UK is ready for ‘no deal’ on 31 October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he told his party faithful at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
He also told the gathering that his latest ‘compromise’ proposal to remove the Northern Ireland Brexit backstop would mean no customs controls anywhere near the UK border in Ireland ‘under any circumstances’.
The EU could ‘take it or leave it’ he said of what he called his ‘final offer’.
He scorned the Benn Act, the law passed by MPs which requires to request a Brexit delay if he cannot secure a deal, and insisted the only option was crashing out without a deal on 31 October.
“That is not an outcome we want, it is not an outcome we seek at all – but let me tell you, my friends, it is an outcome for which we are ready.”
In a ‘call and response’ he asked the audience of delegates and party members: “Are we ready for it?” to which they replied loudly and in unison: “Yes, we are.”
He said he would offer to keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU rules initially, and then give the Northern Ireland executive and assembly a veto over what happened next.
“We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland. We will respect the peace process and the Good Friday agreement.
“By a process of renewable democratic consent by the executive and assembly of Northern Ireland we will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border.”
But Northern Ireland MUST leave the customs union immediately, along with the rest of the UK requiring customs checks but, he promised, they would not be at the border.
“I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn. Because if we fail to get an agreement because of what is essentially a technical discussion of the exact nature of future customs checks, when that technology is improving the whole time, then let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no deal,” said Mr Johnson.
Mr Johnson, whose mandate comes from a fraction of Tory party members, attacked MPs in the Commons refusing to deliver Brexit and refusing to call an election.
His publicity hungry adviser Dominic Cummings has been directing Mr Johnson to push a narrative of “people versus parliament” which has played well with focus groups and on social media
The Prime Minister, elected by fewer votes than the TV reality shows he cited in support, said: “If parliament were a laptop, then the screen would be showing the pizza wheel of doom. If parliament were a school, Ofsted would be shutting it down. If parliament were a reality TV show the whole lot of us would have been voted out of the jungle by now.”
He insisted the Conservatives are not an anti-European party and that UK is not an anti-European country: “We love Europe. We are European.”