Brexit date

First it was March 29, then it was May 22, now it’s Oct. 31. The day the UK plans to leave the EU has been delayed repeatedly, as May and British lawmakers have recoiled from the prospect of a no-deal departure.

“The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy, and we are going to fulfill the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the EU on Oct. 31, no ifs or buts.”

July 24, 2019

First speech as UK prime minister

“We are getting ready to come out on Oct. 31, come what may ... Do or die.”

June 25, 2019

talkRADIO interview

New deal

Johnson has vowed to renegotiate a new, better Brexit deal than his predecessor. But there are some hurdles: the EU has said it won’t revisit the agreement, and in the highly unlikely event it does, any deal would still need to pass parliament (May’s deal was voted down three times).

“[W]e will do a new deal, a better deal that will maximize the opportunities of Brexit while allowing us to develop a new and exciting partnership with the rest of Europe.”

July 24, 2019

First speech as UK prime minister

No deal

UK lawmakers—including Johnson—are hoping to negotiate a deal with the EU before breaking ties. But if the UK leaves without an arrangement, it could lead to some food and medicine shortages. As for the economy: experts predict a recession, and the UK government warned earlier GDP could shrink by as much as 10% over 15 years.

“And it is of course vital at the same time that we prepare for the remote possibility that Brussels refuses any further to negotiate , and we are forced to come out with no deal, not because we want that outcome - of course not - but because it is only common sense to prepare.”

July 24, 2019

First speech as UK prime minister

“It's vanishingly inexpensive if you prepare. So for instance, what we need to do is make sure the agricultural sector is properly safeguarded, that we have Just-In-Time supply chains properly protected, that we have deals on aviation, and all that. Much of that work has been done.”

July 9, 2019

ITV Conservative leadership debate

Irish backstop

Northern Ireland is part of the UK—and Ireland is not—which poses a problem for Brexit. The backstop could indefinitely tie the UK to the EU’s customs rules, unless a free trade deal is reached to guarantee the seamless 310-mile border on the island of Ireland remains—a central plank of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that guaranteed peace between the British and Irish governments. It’s by far the thorniest Brexit issue.

“In order to come out of the EU customs union, and to maintain frictionless trade across the border in Northern Ireland (and indeed at Calais and elsewhere) we will need ways of checking goods for rules of origin, and whether they conform to the right standards, and whether or not they have been smuggled – but we have to do it away from the border, because no one can accept border controls in Northern Ireland.”

July 21, 2019

op-ed in The Telegraph

“There are abundant, abundant technical fixes that can be introduced to make sure that you don't have to have checks at the border.”

June 24, 2019

BBC interview

Divorce settlement

When the UK finally leaves, it will have to settle outstanding budget payments to the EU. Johnson has threatened to withhold the lump sum until the UK gets the Brexit deal it wants—but the EU has plenty to retaliate with, including not negotiating a trade agreement, and would probably sue.

“I think that the £39 billion should be kept in a state of creative ambiguity.”

June 24, 2019

Media interview

“We want to make sure that we keep that money suspended, and waiting to hand it over if we get the deal that we want.”

June 25, 2019

talkRADIO interview


The UK gets tariff-free access to EU countries, and vice versa, as a member of the bloc. Brexit would mean tariffs under WTO rules, unless the two sides agreed to a free trade deal.

There will be no tariffs, there will be no quotas, because what we want to do is to get a standstill in our current arrangements under GATT 24, or whatever it happens to be, until such a time as we have negotiated the [free trade agreement].”

June 18, 2019

BBC Conservative leadership debate

EU citizens’ rights

Millions of EU nationals call the UK home. They live and work in the UK without the need for a visa as part of the bloc’s freedom of movement guarantee. The question of what happens to them—and Brits living in EU member states—is a core part of figuring out Brexit.

“We must now respect that decision and create a new partnership with our European friends—as warm and as close and as affectionate as possible. And the first step is to repeat unequivocally our guarantee to the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us and I say directly to you—thank you for your contribution to our society. Thank you for your patience. And I can assure you that under this government you will get the absolute certainty of the rights.”

July 24, 2019

First speech as UK prime minister