London, June 25 (IANS) Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has admitted that he would need the European Union’s (EU) co-operation to avoid a hard Irish border or crippling tariffs on trade in the event of no deal.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC on Monday, the favourite to be next Prime Minister said: “It’s not just up to us.”
But he said he did “not believe for a moment” that the UK would leave without a deal, although he was willing to do so.
He insisted that it was possible to broker a new deal with the EU before the end of October because the political landscape had changed in the UK and on the continent.
After outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her Brexit deal through Parliament earlier this year, the date of the UK’s departure for the EU was moved to October 31.
“I think actually that politics has changed so much since March 29,” he said, referring to the original Brexit deadline.
“I think on both sides of the Channel there’s a really different understanding of what is needed.”
Asked about a row he had with his partner, he told the BBC that it was “simply unfair” to involve “loved ones” in the debate.
Reports of the argument on June 21 with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, dominated headlines over the weekend after the police were called to their address in London.
Johnson refused to give more details of the incident, saying: “I do not talk about stuff involving my family, my loved ones… And there’s a very good reason for that. That is that, if you do, you drag them into things that really is… Not fair on them.”
The BBC interview comes after Sky News said it would have to cancel a head-to-head debate on Tuesday between Johnson and British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Hunt as the former had “so far declined” to take part.
Johnson also refused to respond to Hunt’s accusations that he was being a “coward” for avoiding more head-to-head TV debates, promising that if elected he would “govern from the centre right” because the centre “is where you win”.
Following a vote on June 20, Hunt and Johnson will now go head-to-head to become the country’s new Prime Minister. The vote resulted in the elimination of Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Next month around 160,000 Conservative members will choose the next leader of the Party – and the next Prime Minister.
Members will receive their ballots between July 6 and 8, with the new leader expected to be announced in the week beginning July 22.