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Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, speaks during a hustings event in London, Britain July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Boris Johnson, the favourite to become Britain’s new prime minister, said on Sunday the country could leave the European Union by agreeing a free trade agreement that would remove the need for one of the more problematic parts of a previous deal.

In his weekly column in The Telegraph newspaper, Johnson said technology could avoid having to stick to the so-called Northern Irish backstop, a part of an agreement with the EU that many lawmakers in Britain’s parliament reject.

“There is abundant scope to find the solutions necessary - and they can and will be found, in the context of the Free Trade Agreement that we will negotiate with the EU ... after we have left on October 31,” he wrote in his column.

“We can come out of the EU on October 31, and yes, we certainly have the technology to do so. What we need now is the will and the drive.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Peter Cooney

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