21:51 GMT09 August 2020
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    The Conservative Party is holding its annual conference in Manchester. There is a febrile political atmosphere in the UK with a General Election likely to be only weeks away.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the British public will not be “taken for fools” any longer by those who seek to delay the implementation of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

    Speaking on the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Mr Johnson said: “What people want, what Leavers want, what Remainers want, what the whole world wants - is to move on. I am afraid that after three-and-a-half years people are beginning to feel that they are being taken for fools.”

    He said: "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. Let's get Brexit done on October 31 so in 2020 our country can move on."

    ​The UK government is expected to submit a new offer on the Irish border - the main sticking point which prevented Theresa May’s withdrawal deal being passed in Parliament - to Brussels later on Wednesday, 2 October.

    Critics have said any attempt to restore a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would impact on the Good Friday Agreement and risk triggering fresh violence from dissident Irish republicans.

    ​Under Theresa May's withdrawal deal Britain would have effectively remained in a customs union with the EU, which hardline Leavers argued would force London to abide by the 27-member bloc's rules indefinitely.

    ​In his speech Mr Johnson referred to the opposition Labour Party as "fratricidal anti-Semitic Marxists" and, referring to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he feared the SNP would try to "bundle him towards the throne" in what he referred to as a "Kremlin coup."

    Mr Johnson then said the British public would be faced with 2020 becoming a year of "chaos and cacophony" with two new referenda - on Scottish independence and on leave the EU.

    Mr Johnson said on no circumstances would there be ​checks on the Irish border.

    On the eve of his speech, Mr Johnson told a conference fringe meeting, hosted by his Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) allies that he hoped to reach a deal with the EU in "the next few days".

    He said the British government would offer the EU a "fair and reasonable compromise."

    Earlier the Conservative Party chairman, James Cleverly, claimed the ball would soon be in the EU’s court: "We have been in negotiating for some while. The UK has been flexible, but a negotiation means both parties need to be flexible. What we need to see now is the EU be flexible - and if they can be pragmatic and flexible, we can leave with a deal on 31 October. But we are going to leave on 31 October whatever."

    ​Mr Johnson supported the Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum campaign and when 52 percent of voters rejected the EU his former schoolmate at Eton, David Cameron was forced to resign.

    Mr Cameron’s successor, Theresa May, supervised a negotiation process that ended with a withdrawal deal being agreed by the UK Cabinet in November 2018. But it was rejected three times by Parliament and eventually Mrs May resigned and was replaced in July this year with Mr Johnson.

    On taking up the office Mr Johnson pledged to leave the EU on 31 October with or without a deal but his critics have said he has dragged his heels over offering an alternative to the so-called Irish backstop and fear he is planning to leave without a deal.

    Reacting to Mr Johnson's speech, French MEP Philippe Lamberts said he feared a no-deal Brexit was looming.

    Mr Lamberts told Reuters: "He claims to love Europe, to embrace Europe. By leaving it? How can this be serious? There is no reason to be reassured by this. Frankly speaking, this doesn't bode well. We have a clear negotiating stance, we are going to negotiate with the British prime minister."

    He added: "The most likely scenario at the moment is a no-deal Brexit because I'm not sure this prime minister is prepared to abide by the law...We are confronted with a prime minister whose strategy, I think, is to achieve a no-deal Brexit and blame EU 'friends' for the unsuccessful outcome." 

    ​More than 20 Tory MPs rebelled against Mr Johnson when he suspended Parliament and last week the UK Supreme Court ruled he had acted unlawfully when he asked the Queen to prorogue the House of Commons.

    During his speech on Wednesday Mr Johnson said: "If Parliament was a school Ofsted would have closed it down or put it in special measures."

    He also compared it to a popular UK reality TV show and joked that the Speaker, John Bercow, would have been forced to eat "kangaroo testicles."

    ​But Mr Johnson has stumbled on, seeking to portray the stalemate as a battle between the “people” and a metropolitan liberal intelligentsia who are bent on stopping Britain leaving the EU.

    During her speech on Tuesday, 1 October, the Home Secretary Priti Patel - herself the daughter of immigrants from Uganda - said she would not be lectured by a “north London metropolitan liberal metropolitan elite”.

    ​Mr Johnson, who has been prime minister for only 70 days, is champing at the bit to test his strategy with the electorate but the opposition Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats fear that by agreeing to an election now they will allow Mr Johnson to push Britain out of the EU exit door without a deal on 31 October.

    Labour wants to call a vote of no confidence and put Jeremy Corbyn in charge of a temporary “unity government” which would extend Article 50 into next year but the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has refused to serve under Mr Corbyn, saying he is “unfit” for office.

    ​During his speech he said the Conservatives would pay for improved hospitals and roads by "raising productivity" and not by copying the "Bolivarian policies of Venezuela."

    He frequently referred to the party as "one nation Conservatives" - a reference to a term used before Margaret Thatcher came along in the 1980s and pulled the party to the right, saying "there was no such thing as society."

    Mr Johnson also promised to build a battery gigafactory to boost the production and sale of electric cars in Britain, a week after Labour promised to build three battery plants. 

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    Conservative Party, European Union, Boris Johnson, Brexit
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