- Emmanuel Macron dismisses Boris Johnson’s demands for an entirely new Brexit deal before Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31.
- The French president insisted that any renegotiation would end up with an agreement which is almost identical to "the existing one."
- He dismissed Johnson’s demands to remove the controversial Northern Ireland backstop from the deal, describing it as "indispensable."
- The continuing impasse means Britain is heading towards a no-deal Brexit.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has rejected Boris Johnson’s demands to renegotiate Britain’s Brexit deal, insisting that the terms of the current agreement are "indispensable."
The British Prime Minister told Macron that the UK parliament would never sign up to a deal which contains the controversial Northern Ireland backstop agreement, which is designed to prevent a hard border with Ireland after Brexit.
However, Macron insisted that any renegotiated deal would have to retain the backstop.
"We will not find a new withdrawal agreement in 30 days that will be very different from the existing one," he told reporters at a press conference, alongside Johnson, in Paris.
Both men sought to push the blame for any potential new border onto the other. Johnson insisted repeatedly that "under no circumstances will the UK government be instituting, imposing, checks or controls of any kind at that border."
However, Macron responded by saying that any new border would only be formed as a result of "a political decision" taken by the UK government, adding that "it will not be our decision."
The exchange came after the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel suggested that a solution to Britain’s Brexit crisis could be found in the next "30 days."
Johnson today praised Merkel’s "can-do spirit."
"She said if we can do this in two years then we can do this in 30 days and I admire that ‘can-do’ spirit that she seemed to have and I think she is right," Johnson said.
"I think that the technical solutions are readily available and they have been discussed at great length."
He cited a report by Conservative MP Greg Hands, which lists a number of potential "alternative arrangements" to replace the backstop, including a "trusted trader scheme" and checks on goods taking place away from the border.
The Irish government and other EU leaders have previously insisted that such measures would be insufficient.
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