UK's Johnson Rejects Brexit Deal, Vows to Leave EU Without New Agreement
By VOANews July 25, 2019
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on the European Union (EU) to reconsider its decision not to renegotiate the Brexit deal and vowed to withdraw from the 28-nation bloc without a new agreement if necessary.
During his first address Thursday before Parliament since becoming prime minister, Johnson said the Brexit deal negotiated by his predecessor, Theresa May, is "unacceptable," maintaining she "signed away" Britain's economic and government independence.
Johnson insisted he wanted a new deal but said Britain was better prepared than most political observers believed to leave the EU without one.
"I hope the EU will be equally ready and that they will rethink their current refusal to make any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement," he said. "If they do not, we will, of course, have to leave the EU without an agreement."
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Johnson during a telephone conversation Thursday the existing deal is "the best and only agreement possible," according to an unnamed EU official with knowledge of the exchange.
But the official also said Juncker reiterated the EU offer to consider the idea of Britain adding language to a non-binding political declaration that was negotiated to accompany the separation deal.
The EU is also willing to "analyze" any ideas presented by the UK "providing they are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement," the official added.
The populist former mayor of London campaigned on a promise to withdraw Britain from the EU by an October 31 deadline, whether or not the two sides have an agreement in place that spells out the terms of the separation. Many members of parliament oppose a no-deal Brexit, saying such a move would be economically chaotic.
Johnson's call for the EU to reassess the deal may be problematic given much of Europe is on vacation during the month of August.
The EU has been adamant in its opposition to renegotiating terms of Britain's departure.
Opposition Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed parliament after Johnson, reiterating his party would reject any Brexit deal proposed by Johnson if it does not protect jobs, employee rights and the environment.
On Wednesday, Corbyn praised May's service as prime minister and expressed hope that she would agree to "helping me to oppose the reckless plans of her successor."
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