London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Tuesday that Britain will be leaving the European Union “no matter what” on October 31, stressing that the so-called Irish backstop had to be removed from any exit deal.

“The prime minister made clear that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, no matter what,” said a statement from Johnson’s office about a phone call between the two.

“The prime minister made clear that the government will approach any negotiations which take place with determination and energy and in a spirit of friendship, and that his clear preference is to leave the EU.”

Varadkar told Johnson on Tuesday that the Brexit withdrawal agreement could not be reopened, and that “satisfactory” alternative arrangements have yet to be identified.

“Alternative arrangements could replace the backstop in the future, but thus far satisfactory options have yet to be identified and demonstrated,” Varadkar told Johnson in a phone call, the Irish government’s press office said.

Varadkar invited Johnson to Dublin for talks on Brexit and for a discussion of bilateral matters including Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area, the press office added.