Brexit latest: Latvian PM says Johnson's Brexit offer is a 'basis for negotiations'

Brexit latest: Latvian PM says Johnson's Brexit offer is a 'basis for negotiations'

Latvian prime minister Krisjanis Karins said Boris Johnson’s Brexit offer is a “basis for negotiations”.

“I have full trust in the Commission as our negotiator to try to find a good compromise with the UK,” he told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.

“If Mr Johnson is willing to negotiate that’s a very good sign and certainly from Europe’s side we are always looking for a deal that works for everyone.”

Mr Karins said striking a deal was “fully dependent on the will of Mr Johnson because from the European side we are always open and looking towards a deal”.

“If a deal can be found that keeps the single market intact and is not bad for the Republic of Ireland I think it would work for the rest of the EU as well.”

Mr Karins said the EU “doesn’t have a whole lot of wriggle room” in negotiating a new deal, but said some tweaks were possible.

To open up the entire agreement I think that is very unrealistic, certainly in the short time frame.

He said Boris Johnson “probably” could get an extension if it was to help “hammer out a deal which is good for everyone”.

“But just extending for the sake of extension I think there would be quite a bit of debate within the EU.”

Deal puts GFA 'at serious risk'

Meanwhile, British Labour MP Lisa Nandy has said Boris Johnson’s proposed alternative to the backstop would put the Good Friday Agreement at “serious risk”.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, she said: “I could support a deal; I would support a deal. The problem is at the moment, we don’t have a deal.

“What we’ve got is a proposal which stands virtually no chance of being accepted by the EU which creates two borders on the island of Ireland which is completely incompatible with existing international law and which rips up the workers’ rights and protections and the environmental protections that we spent several months at the start of this year negotiating with the former prime minister.

“I would vote for a deal, but this is not a deal. This is a pre-election party-political broadcast from the Prime Minister, and the truth is that for all of the talk about getting Brexit done, we are further away from achieving a deal than we were two months ago when he became Prime Minister.”

Ms Nandy said bringing the Withdrawal Agreement Bill back before Parliament is the only way to avoid no deal.

She added: “The cross-party talks, the cross-party work that is going on is much more between backbenchers of all parties who are currently trying to see if there is a way that we could bring the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before the House. That was a Bill that came out of the cross-party talks. It met the vast majority of Labour’s key tests, and it is the way, the only way in my view, to prevent us leaving with no deal in just a few weeks’ time.”

Getting Brexit done 'the sole focus of (British) government'

In an interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, British Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has repeatedly refused to say whether Boris Johnson would write a letter to the EU asking for a delay to Brexit if a deal has not been agreed by October 19.

He said: “We’ve said that as any government would do we will comply with the law...However, all of our efforts now are focused on trying to get a deal.

“And we’ve just put forward some, I think, very reasonable and thoughtful proposals to the EU – they try to answer the questions that had dogged the previous deal prepared by Theresa May.”

Pressed again, Mr Jenrick insisted the British government has “no intention” of extending Article 50 to delay Britain’s departure from the EU if a deal cannot be agreed.

“We think the UK needs to move forward,” he said.

The Cabinet minister went on to say: “Boris Johnson and this Government will do absolutely everything in our power to deliver Brexit on October 31.

“But we have no plan as to what might happen if Parliament doesn’t allow us to get Brexit done on October 31 because we intend to get it done on that date and that’s the sole focus of this Government at the moment.”

More on this topic

Significant risks in extremely complex UK border Brexit preparations – watchdogSignificant risks in extremely complex UK border Brexit preparations – watchdog

Boris Johnson in race against the clock as Brexit splits appearBoris Johnson in race against the clock as Brexit splits appear

‘Guarded optimism’ for Brexit breakthrough‘Guarded optimism’ for Brexit breakthrough

The key players in the UK’s hunt for a Brexit dealThe key players in the UK’s hunt for a Brexit deal