Tusk tells British PM Johnson to stop playing 'stupid' Brexit blame game

Marco Green
October 9, 2019

Following Brussels' rejection of Boris Johnson's Brexit plans, the Prime Minister has vowed to ensure no other nation gets in the way of his pursuit of a no deal Brexit.

In a sign that Johnson's last-ditch proposals to bridge the impasse have failed, a Downing Street source said Merkel and Johnson spoke on Tuesday morning and she made clear that a deal was "overwhelmingly unlikely".

A Number 10 source told The Spectator they would make it clear in public and in private that the interference is not welcome, and any attempt to delay is pointless as Britain will leave regardless on 31 October. The official claimed that as a outcome a deal looked "essentially impossible, not just now but ever".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman confirmed that there had been a "frank exchange" of views with the German chancellor, but refused to be drawn any further on the "source" claims.

European Council president Donald Tusk accused Mr Johnson of engaging in a "stupid blame game" ahead of next week's crucial EU summit.

"At stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom as well as the security and interests of our people. You don't want a deal, you don't want an extension, you don't want to revoke, quo vadis?" he asked. "But politicians like to keep things off their plates for as long as possible and so pushing it longer seems more realistic", a senior European Union diplomat said.

However there was said to be surprise among diplomats in Brussels at Mrs Merkel's reported comments, as she has consistently stressed her commitment to achieving a deal.

A third said: "I believe Boris was EXACTLY right".

The Prime Minister set out how there is little time remaining to negotiate a new agreement, and so we need to move quickly and work together to agree a deal.

However, Keir Starmer, the Brexit spokesperson for the main opposition Labour Party, said that "this is yet another cynical attempt by Number 10 to sabotage the negotiations", arguing that Johnson's "strategy from day one has been for a no-deal Brexit". The UK government has put forward nothing credible to deal with border issues in Ireland.

As the clock ticks down, a new Brexit readiness document is expected to be published on Tuesday subject to the Speaker approving a statement by no-deal planning chief Michael Gove.

After the call Downing Street accused Brussels of making it "impossible" for Britain to leave the European Union with a deal.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank, however, warned that "even a relatively benign no-deal Brexit" would see Britain's debt burden surge to 50-year highs. He reiterated that if we did not reach an agreement then the United Kingdom will leave without a deal on the 31st October.

He has said he would abide by the law but Britain would leave the European Union by the end of the month, without explaining that contradiction.

The government did not deny the report in the Spectator, which also said Boris Johnson "will do all sorts of things to scupper a delay" to leaving the EU.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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