British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was prepared to take Brexit talks with the European Union down to the very last minute before the 31 October exit deadline and if necessary to take a decision to leave without a deal on that day.

When asked if he was prepared to take talks with the EU right up to 31 October, Mr Johnson said: "Well I do think that the EU does tend to come to an agreement right at the end.

"Clearly for us, the walking away as it were, would come on October 31 when we would take steps to come out on the terms for which we will have by then made absolutely colossal and extensive and fantastic preparations."

Mr Johnson was speaking at a press conference as the G7 conference in Biarritz drew to a close this afternoon.

Speaking of talks with the EU, Mr Johnson said he wanted a deal but that the bloc would have to accept a "backstopectomy" - the removal of the backstop.

However, he did also say that he was "marginally more optimistic" on the chances of clinching a deal but admitted it would be difficult.

"I am marginally more optimistic," he said after intense contacts on Brexit at the G7 with fellow leaders, while admitting: "It will be difficult... there is a substantial disagreement" between Britain and the EU.


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Asked about possible stumbling blocks at Westminster thwarting plans to leave the EU at the end of October, Mr Johnson said: "I think it's the job of everybody in parliament to get this thing done.

"I think it's what the people want, I also think, by the way, it's what our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel want - they want it over.

"They are very enthusiastic about getting on with the future. They regard Brexit now as an encumbrance, an old argument. They want to talk about the new partnership that we're going to build," said Mr Johnson.

Reacting to comments from US President Donald Trump earlier that he would meet Iran's president under the right circumstances to end a confrontation over a 2015 nuclear deal, Mr Johnson said: "There is clearly an opportunity now for Iran to come back into compliance with the nuclear deal... and to resume dialogue, as well as to cease its disruptive behaviour in the region."