Johnson insists he is committed to finding new Brexit deal with Brussels

Boris Johnson has insisted he is committed to securing a new deal with Brussels ahead of Britain's departure from the EU.

The Prime Minister, in Dublin for talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar, said he believed it was possible to secure an agreement ahead of the UK's scheduled withdrawal at the end of October.

However, Mr Varadkar said that while Ireland was open to alternative solutions to the Northern Ireland backstop, they had yet to see any "legally workable" proposals from the UK.

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Boris Johnson in Dublin
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson signing the visitors' book as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomes him to the Government Buildings in Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 9, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit Meeting. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin.
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Mr Johnson's insistence he wanted to see a deal following the resignation at the weekend of work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd complaining she had seen little evidence ministers were trying to find an agreement.

Standing alongside Mr Varadkar, Mr Johnson said that a no-deal Brexit would represent a "failure of statecraft" by all concerned.

"I want to find a deal. I have looked carefully at no-deal. Yes, we could do it, the UK could certainly get through it, but be in no doubt that outcome would be a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible," he said.

"I would overwhelmingly prefer to find an agreement. I do believe that a deal can be done by October 18 so let's do it together."

While he did not underestimate the "technical problems" involved in resolving the issue of the Irish border, he said the UK was ready to bring forward proposals to address the "full range of issues".

They included the "electronic pre-clearance" of goods and the "unity" of the island of Ireland for agri-foods.

"Strip away the politics and at the core of each problem you find practical issues that can be resolved with sufficient energy and a spirit of compromise."

Mr Varadkar said that he was willing to work with the Prime Minister as a "friend and ally" but said that Ireland was not prepared to accept the replacement of a "legal guarantee with a promise".

"Avoiding a return to a hard border is the priority of this government," he said.

"We are open to all alternatives legally workable but we have not received such to date."

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