BORIS Johnson is “pushing ahead” for a Brexit deal in New York today as he will urge EU leaders Macron and Merkel to refuse another delay.
The PM is due to hold crunch talks with bigwigs today as part of a UN meeting in the United States.
He will tell them that any new deal has to be passed by October 31, and Britain is leaving then no matter what.
But as he got off the plane this morning he said he was “cautiously optimistic” about an agreement, but that a “New York breakthrough” was unlikely.
“I would caution you all not to think this is going to be the moment,” he said.
“I don’t wish to elevate excessively the belief that there will be a New York breakthrough.
“I’m not getting pessimistic – we will be pushing ahead, but there is still work to be done.”
Ministers hope that if EU leaders indicate they could refuse another Brexit delay, MPs will be forced into voting for a deal or risking a No Deal exit.
Boris is also thought to be planning talks with the German Chancellor and French President to outline in further details his plans to replace the hated Northern Ireland backstop.
Without changes to it, Boris has vowed to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 without a deal in place.
One insider said: “If there is going to be a deal then the EU is going to have to move on that.”
The PM is keen to find a way to wriggle out of being forced to seek yet another Brexit extension from the EU if he hasn’t got a deal done by the middle of October.
Boris hopes that EU leaders will have a breakthrough at a crunch summit next month, paving the way for an 11th hour deal.
EU boss Jean Claude Juncker gave him a boost last week by saying a deal was on the cards, and appearing to open the door to a compromise.
What is the Brexit backstop and what would it mean for the Irish border?
The backstop plan is essentially a safety net if there is no Brexit trade deal.
It would avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Also, it would ensure that no “tariffs, quotas, rules of origin or customs processes” would be applied to UK-EU trade – keeping Britain in a single customs territory with the EU.
This would also leave Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods – meaning good crossing the border would not be subject to checks for customs or product standards.
But it is unclear if the UK would be able to strike free trade agreements with other countries while the backstop endured.
And it is feared the UK would end up being trapped in the customs union for years, preventing the country from being able to strike its own trade deals on goods with countries outside the EU.
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One plan is to keep Northern Ireland tied to some EU rules, which would kill the need for a hard border in the province.
But the DUP are opposed to the idea of creating a virtual border in the Irish sea, which would divide them from the rest of the UK.
Boris is also set to meet US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the summit – and the pair will agree the roadmap for a post-Brexit deal by next July.
Boris was initially sceptical about Mr Trump’s aim to have a deal tied up in just nine months time.
But he has been persuaded to aim for it because of the high risk that the US presidential election in November poses.
Boris Johnson says Thomas Cook bosses should be personally held to account for leaving holidaymakers stranded
THOMAS Cook’s bosses should be personally held to account for leaving holidaymakers stranded, Boris Johnson has insisted.
The PM spoke out as the travel giant collapsed, leaving 160,000 Brits stranded abroad.
He also confirmed that the Government has already drawn up a rescue plan to bring home the abandoned tourists.
Landing on his RAF flight in New York for a UN summit, Mr Johnson said the Government’s “thoughts are very much with the customers who may now face difficulties getting home”.
And he said: “There will be plans ready to deal with that if it’s necessary”.
The PM also dropped a strong hint that the bosses of travel firms that go under could fail new criminal sanctions.
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