Fate of Brexit deal in hands of the EU: UK Conservative chairman

British Conservative MP James Cleverly arrives at Downing Street, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union needs to show flexibility over the Irish border "backstop" because the issue of whether Britain leaves the bloc with or without a deal is now mainly up to Brussels, Conservative party chairman James Cleverly said on Tuesday.

"The decision as to whether we leave with or without a deal is largely now in the hands of European Union negotiators," Cleverly told Sky News, adding that the EU's insistence on the so-called backstop was the main sticking point in reaching a deal.

"We will be leaving on the 31st of October come what may, and I think the recognition of that will help the EU negotiators understand what they need to do."


(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Kate Holton)