October 2, 2019 / 10:52 AM / 15 days ago

British PM Johnson speech to party conference

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Following are key quotes from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech to the annual conference of his Conservative Party:

CRITICISM OF PARLIAMENT

“The sad truth is that voters have more say over ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (a TV programme) than they do over this House of Commons which refuses to deliver Brexit, refuses to do anything constructive and refuses to have an election just at the moment when voters are desperate for us to focus on their priorities.”

BREXIT ON OCT. 31, COME WHAT MAY

“We are continuing to chew the supermasticated subject of Brexit when what people want, what leavers want, what remainers want, what the whole world wants – is to be calmly and sensibly done with the subject, and to move on. And that is why we are coming out of the EU on October 31, come what may, Conference. Let’s get Brexit done. We can, we must, and we will, even though things have not been made easier by the surrender bill. We will work for a deal with our EU friends; but whatever happens we must come out by the end of October.”

ON LABOUR LEADER CORBYN’S REFUSAL TO BACK ELECTION NOW

“We have the astonishing spectacle of the leader of the opposition, gagged, being prevented by his colleagues from engaging in his constitutional function which is to try to remove me from office.”

ON RISKS TO DEMOCRACY POSED BY DELAYS TO BREXIT

“After three and a half years people are beginning to feel that they are being taken for fools. They are beginning to suspect that there are forces in this country that simply don’t want Brexit delivered at all and if they turn out to be right in that suspicion then I believe there will be grave consequences for trust in democracy.”

ON UK OFFER TO EU

“After 45 years of really dramatic constitutional change we must have a new relationship with the EU - a positive and confident partnership - and we can do it. Today in Brussels we are tabling what I believe are constructive and reasonable proposals which provide a compromise for both sides.”

ON PLANS FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

“We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland. We will respect the peace process and the Good Friday agreement. And by a process of renewable democratic consent by the executive and assembly of Northern Ireland. We will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border. And at the same time we will allow the UK - whole and entire - to withdraw from the EU, with control of our own trade policy from the start.”

ON A NO-DEAL BREXIT

“If we fail to get an agreement because of what is essentially a technical discussion of the exact nature of future customs checks, when that technology is improving the whole time, then let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no deal. That is not an outcome we want. It is not an outcome we seek at all. But let me tell you this conference it is an outcome for which we are ready.”

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and William Schomberg

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