Johnson tells EU: ditch the backstop or there will be no-deal Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Boris J

Johnson tells EU: ditch the backstop or there will be no-deal Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he meets engineering graduates on the site of an under-construction tramline in Stretford, near Manchester, Britain July 27, 2019. Ben Stansall/Pool via REUTERS

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cautioned the European Union on Saturday that the Irish backstop, which he said was undemocratic and divisive, needed to be ditched if they were to strike a Brexit divorce deal.

“If we get rid of the backstop whole and entire then we are making a lot of progress,” Johnson said, when asked if it is was only the Irish border backstop that he wanted changed.

He added that he had “very friendly relations” with EU leaders.

“The approach of the UK government is not going to be disengaged or aloof or waiting for them to come to us: we are going to try to solve this problem and we are going to do it in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.”

“But we can’t do it as long as that anti-democratic backstop, that backstop that seeks to divide our country, divide the UK, remains in place,” he said. “We need to get it out and then we can make progress, I think.”

Reporting by William James, editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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