Britain's Johnson faces cabinet revolt over no-deal Brexit

Galtero Lara
Octubre 9, 2019

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has hit back at claims from Downing Street that it had sabotaged a potential Brexit deal.

The Downing Street source said that if Merkel's position on Northern Ireland remaining in the EU's customs union was the bloc's position, then a deal was impossible.

Talks with the European Union to reach an agreement on Britain's departure have hit an impasse over the backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland if a future trade deal falls short of keeping the border open.

This, the source said, marked a shift in Germany's approach and made a negotiated deal "essentially impossible".

"But the real outrage is the German suggestion that Northern Ireland be separated from the UK", Banks said.

The German government confirmed that Ms Merkel and Mr Johnson had spoken but declined to comment on the substance of "confidential conversations".

However, Norbert Roettgen, a senior Merkel ally, said there was no new German position on Brexit.

According to the paper, Boris Johnson has urged Leo Varadkar "to keep faith" regarding Brexit negotiations, despite dwindling chances of an agreement being hammered out before the 31 October deadline.

The pound fell as much as 0.7 per cent to US$1.2205, the weakest level since September 4.

They also accused the European Union of being "willing to torpedo the Good Friday agreement" - the peace process agreed in Northern Ireland in the 1990s - by refusing to accept Mr Johnson's proposals.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted testily that "what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game".

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A frustrated Mr Tusk accused Britain of playing with "the future of Europe and the UK" with no clear plan of what the country wanted.

Act, requires Johnson to write to the European Union asking for an extension until 31 January if he fails to get a Brexit deal agreed at Westminster by 19 October.

BREXIT BLAME GAME An array of remarks by unidentified British sources laid bare just how far apart the two sides are after three years of tortuous haggling over the first departure of a sovereign state from the EU.

"If his ideas are limited to what he presented to the negotiator (Michel) Barnier five days ago, it means that he doesn't actually want an agreement", Sassoli, an Italian, told reporters, speaking through a translator in London.

Ireland's Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), Simon Coveney, said a deal was still possible but "not any at cost" - and the United Kingdom must accept it had "responsibilities" on the island of Ireland.

After the call, Arlene Foster, leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which supports Johnson's Brexit stance, said accepting the EU's position would amount to "surrender".

Johnson's spokesman said the British leader and Merkel had had a frank exchange and Britain had not seen any compromise from the EU.

On Tuesday, Britain published more details of its plans for a scenario where there is no deal.

Johnson has repeatedly said that he will not comply with the Benn act, which would instruct him to request an extension by 19 October if a deal is not secured with the EU.

Scotland's top court will rule on Wednesday whether to order Johnson to abide by the law forcing a delay and if it could sign a letter asking for an extension if he refuses to do so himself.

After the UK failed to leave the bloc on 29 March, due to the withdrawal deal being voted down by UK lawmakers, the European Council gave the country an extension until 31 October, with an option to leave earlier if the UK parliament passes the deal.

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