After months of Brexit stalemate, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to present a "final offer" for a last-minute divorce deal with the European Union on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Wednesday unveil his final Brexit offer to the European Union and make clear that if Brussels does not engage with the proposal, Britain will not negotiate further and will leave on October 31.
In his closing speech to his governing Conservatives' annual conference, Johnson will stick to his hard line on Brexit, offering the party faithful the first details of what he will describe as his "fair and reasonable compromise".
With less than a month until Britain is due to leave the EU, the future of Brexit, the country's biggest trade and foreign policy shift in more than 40 years, is uncertain. Britain could leave with a deal, without one or not exit at all.
Johnson, who says Britain will leave the bloc on October 31 no matter what, will tell the conference he will send his proposal to Brussels on Wednesday, an attempt to secure a deal to smooth the country' s departure and avoid a potentially economically damaging no-deal Brexit.
"My friends, I am afraid that after three-and-a-half years people are beginning to feel that they are being taken for fools. They are beginning to suspect that there are forces in this country that simply don't want Brexit delivered at all," he will say, according to extracts released by his office.
"Let's get Brexit done on October 31 so in 2020 our country can move on."
More than three years after Britain voted to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum, Brexit talks are at an impasse.
Johnson has been firm that the October 31 deadline will be met, but parliament has put roadblocks in his way - passing a law that requires the prime minister to request a Brexit delay if he fails to secure an acceptable deal at an EU summit on October 17.
The EU has repeatedly asked Britain to come up with "legal and operational" proposals for the changes Johnson wants to a deal his predecessor negotiated with the bloc last year.
Earlier today, Johnson said Britain will table new proposals on a Brexit deal "very soon".
"We are going to make a very good offer. We will be tabling it formally very soon," Johnson told BBC television from Manchester.
Versions of his long-awaited proposal reported in the UK and Irish media suggest he wants checks on goods conducted away from the Irish border, while food and agricultural products are waved through.
Non-Paper = Non-Starter. Time the EU had a serious proposal from the UK Govt if a #Brexit deal is to be achievable in October. NI and IRE deserves better!— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) September 30, 2019
A 'non-starter' plan
The reported plan is designed to keep the border between EU member Ireland and Britain's Northern Ireland free-flowing after Brexit, which is now scheduled for October 31.
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney called the reported plan a "non-starter."
"Time the EU had a serious proposal from the UK Govt if a #Brexit deal is to be achievable in October," Coveney tweeted, saying Northern Ireland and his own country "deserves better!"
Johnson told BBC radio the media reports of his proposals were "not quite right."
He said so-called customs clearance centres for goods were not part of his solution, which UK media said would be presented to Brussels by the weekend.
But he confirmed that Britain has already proposed a way to abolish checks on cattle and some food crossing the border by allowing EU rules in Northern Ireland, as in Ireland.
It suggested "a single territory for agriculture, for sanitary and phytosanitary agrifoods, and that is a big concession by the UK government", he said.
"It covers a great deal of trade north [to] south of the border, the decisions on sanitary and phytosanitary rules would still be taken in Brussels with no say by the UK."
Johnson also reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring Brexit without further delay.
Brexit deadline approaches
Britain’s departure date has already been postponed twice from the original end of March deadline.
Johnson also again denied an allegation that he squeezed a young female journalist's thigh 20 years ago –– and suggested negative stories about him were driven by anti-Brexit sentiment.
"This is a very difficult time for the country in the sense that Brexit is about to be done and a lot of people don't want Brexit to be done," he said.
Britain struck a Brexit deal with the European Union last year, under former premier Theresa May, but it was rejected three times by the British parliament.
The most contentious issue was a so-called backstop plan, which could keep Britain in a customs union with the EU indefinitely to avoid checks on the Irish border.