July 30, 2019 / 12:14 PM / 5 months ago

UK PM Johnson tells Ireland: We leave EU on Oct. 31 'no matter what'

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a speech on domestic priorities at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, Britain July 27, 2019. Lorne Campbell/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar on Tuesday that Britain will be leaving the European Union “no matter what” on Oct. 31, stressing that the so-called Irish backstop had to be removed from any exit deal.

“The prime minister made clear that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, no matter what,” said a statement from Johnson’s office about a phone call between the two.

“The prime minister made clear that the government will approach any negotiations which take place with determination and energy and in a spirit of friendship, and that his clear preference is to leave the EU with a deal, but it must be one that abolishes the backstop.”

Reporting by William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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