Johnson to meet Merkel as backstop stance hardens

Johnson to meet Merkel as backstop stance hardens

Boris Johnson is set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel later, the first in a series of meetings with European and world leaders over the coming days.

The British Prime Minister will travel to Berlin where he will discuss Brexit-related issues with the German premier over dinner, before heading to Paris on Thursday to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.

On Saturday, Mr Johnson will be at the G7 summit where he will meet other world leaders including US president Donald Trump.

The meetings come as Mr Johnson has reiterated his opposition to the Northern Irish backstop, saying he will not support any withdrawal agreement that includes it.

I think it's a bit paradoxical that the EU side is talking about us putting up all the barriers, we've made it clear 1,000 times we don't want to see any checks on the Northern Irish frontier at all

In an interview with ITV News, Mr Johnson said he believes there are “plenty of other creative solutions” to the Northern Irish backstop.

He added: “I think it’s a bit paradoxical that the EU side is talking about us putting up all the barriers, we’ve made it clear 1,000 times we don’t want to see any checks on the Northern Irish frontier at all, under no circumstances let me repeat again, under no circumstances will the Government of the United Kingdom be putting checks on the Northern Irish frontier.

“By contrast, it is the EU who currently claim that the single market and the plurality of the single market require them to have such checks – I don’t think that’s true.

“I’m going to go of course and see if I can explore those ideas with our friends in Germany and France and at the G7 – let’s see where we get to.

“It may be that for now, they stick with the mantra, rien ne va plus, and they can’t change a jot or a title of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

It comes as Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said UK ministers and officials will no longer attend most European Union meetings from September 1, the Government has announced.

The country will only be represented at meetings where the UK has a “significant national interest,” the Department for Exiting the European Union said.

- Press Association

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