U.S. Markets

UK PM Johnson tells Germany's Merkel: The backstop has to go

FILE PHOTO: Britain's new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, arrives to deliver a speech outside Downing Street, in London, Britain July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday that the only way to reach a deal on Brexit is to abolish the so-called Irish backstop, a spokesman for Johnson said in a statement.

“He reiterated the message he delivered in the House of Commons yesterday: Parliament has rejected the Withdrawal Agreement three times and so the UK must fully prepare for the alternative – which is to leave without a deal on October 31,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“He said the only solution that would allow us to make progress on a deal is to abolish the backstop. The PM and Chancellor agreed to stay in contact.”

Reporting by William James; Editing by Alistair Smout