His first speech as PM was everything they were hoping for: impassioned, optimistic and funny.
On Brexit he was typically bullish about leaving on time, and rattled through plans that he promised would build a ‘positive new partnership’ with the EU.
With his bombastic battle-cry of ‘Get Brexit Done’, Boris Johnson left the Conservative Party Conference stage to ecstatic applause at the Manchester Convention Centre
No longer can critics accuse him of not trying to get a deal; he has presented a serious proposal and thrown down the gauntlet to Brussels.
The stakes could hardly be higher on both sides. The blamegame has truly begun.
Boris’s blueprint is radically different from anything Theresa May even considered, and arises from a combination of principle and political necessity.
Johnson has long argued that Mrs May’s deal would have made trade deals impossible. He wants us to be free to go our own way after Brexit.
The logical consequence of that position is there must be a customs border between Northern Ireland and the south.
But there will be no border checks – which would inflame nationalist sentiment.
The Prime Minister (pictured with Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid) was typically bullish about Brexit and rattled through plans that he promised would build a ‘positive new partnership’ with the EU
For example, an Australian tractor would face checks as it crossed from Liverpool to Belfast to make sure it met product standards.
If it was then moved across the border to Dublin, it would be tracked and would face customs checks where it left and where it arrived.
But what about regulatory checks, which Brussels insists are needed on goods entering the EU?
On this, Mr Johnson – and his allies in the DUP – have offered a significant compromise which would see Northern Ireland follow EU rules.
He has taken the two border challenges – customs and regulations – and split them between the two sides.
Call it a fudge if you like, it is a workable attempt to solve an intractable problem.
Boris’s blueprint is radically different from anything Theresa May even considered, and arises from a combination of principle and political necessity (pictured with girlfriend Carrie Symonds)
To sweeten the bitter pill of having laws for Northern Ireland set by Brussels, the Northern Ireland Assembly and executive must sign off the plan now and every four years.
With some considerable force in his letter Mr Johnson said these votes were ‘fundamental to democracy’.
As soon as the proposals were published, all eyes were on Arlene Foster of the DUP.
Would her party declare ‘no surrender’ and kill it off? No. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Mr Johnson at a raucous Tory conference rally on Tuesday night, it was clear they were fully inside the tent.
In theory, these developments could unlock a narrow majority in Parliament.
Many of the 21 Tory MPs who were stripped of the whip will still vote for a deal. With the DUP onside, that’s ten more.
And if the DUP don’t object, most of the European Research Group will back the deal, as could more than a dozen Labour MPs.
So what is Brussels’ next move?
If Brussels were to dismiss the deal or place impossible obstacles in its path it would be a sign they are listening to Remainers such as Tony Blair and Dominic Grieve, who say there should be a second referendum with an option to stay.
For some – though not all – EU leaders, this would be a preferred outcome.
On the other hand, perhaps Emmanuel Macron will seize a chance to kick Britain out as quickly as possible? Will Angela Merkel be as uncompromising as when she stifled David Cameron’s renegotiation? Will Varadkar realise he is in a hole, facing a No Deal disaster?
Surprisingly, it is Cognacswilling commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in whom senior ministers are investing hope. Shortly to retire, doing a Brexit deal would be a lasting legacy.
Turning the deal down would surely be a tactical error.
There is a slim possibility of Remainer MPs getting their acts together enough to force a second referendum, and it would string things out for months if not years.
Much more likely is that the courts force the UK to follow the terms of the so-called ‘Surrender Act’ – which prevents a No Deal Brexit – and delay our leaving the EU, prompting a general election.
If the polls are right, Mr Johnson could triumph, and with a Commons majority he would be in a much stronger position.
The threat was clear in Mr Johnson’s conference speech: ‘Let us be in no doubt that the alternative is No Deal.’
Last night, No 10 officials said that if the answer is a flat ‘No’, Mr Johnson won’t even attend the summit in two weeks’ time when the deal would be signed off. So EU leaders have a choice.
They can engage, be pragmatic and try to find a solution.
Or they can turn over the negotiating table and walk away before Boris Johnson has even sat down.
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JACK DOYLE: The PM threw down the gauntlet to Brussels – but will the EU play ball or turn over the negotiating table before Boris has even sat down? have 1066 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at October 2, 2019. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.