September 3, 2019 / 4:23 PM / 18 days ago

EU wants to see if lawmakers will block Brexit before striking new deal - UK's Johnson

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The European Union is waiting to see if British lawmakers block Brexit before giving Britain concessions to strike a new withdrawal agreement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Johnson, who has pledged that Britain will leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal, wants the Irish border backstop removed from the withdrawal agreement. He says the prospect of Britain leaving without a deal strengthens his hand in negotiations with the EU, but opposition lawmakers are seeking to make a no-deal Brexit illegal.

“What our friends and partners want to see is that the House of Commons is not going to block Brexit. They’re not going to make a concession ... to our country until they know that the House of Commons is not going to block Brexit,” Johnson told lawmakers, although he declined to elaborate on the details of the concessions that he was seeking.

“We will be bringing forward our proposals in due time,” he added. (Reporting by William James; writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)

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