United Kingdom government says Brexit deal is "essentially impossible"

09 Octobre, 2019, 15:23 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Irish Prime Minister An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Amid frantic diplomatic manoeuvring in European capitals, details of a call earlier on Tuesday between the United Kingdom and German leaders have reignited tensions across the continent.

Varadkar said Ireland can't accept a deal at any cost as Britain seeks to renegotiate plans meant to ensure there is no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland.

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.

Finding a way to keep the border open without keeping at least a part of the United Kingdom tied to European Union trade rules has always been the main sticking point in the talks.

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

Updating MPs on contingency planning for a no-deal exit, minister Michael Gove said there was still "every chance" of a deal but the European Union must engage with the UK's plans. None of us want to have a prime minister who is facing contempt of court proceedings.

Brussels responded by accusing Johnson of trying to play a "stupid blame game".

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.

"You don't want a deal, you don't want an extension, you don't want to revoke, quo vadis?" - a Latin phrase meaning "where are you going?"

"What's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game", Tusk wrote in a tweet directed at the prime minister. "We'll either leave with no deal on 31 October or there will be an election and then we will leave with no deal".

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The Times said that ministers had warned Johnson in a cabinet meeting about the "grave" risk of the return of direct rule in Northern Ireland and raised concerns about Dominic Cummings, Johnson's top adviser.

Riding a wave of British frustrations with the saga, Mr Johnson is threatening to leave at any cost - with or without a withdrawal deal - on October 31.

In a sign that Johnson's last-ditch proposals to bridge the Brexit 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".

"Boris Johnson will never take responsibility for his own failure to put forward a credible deal".

An unnamed cabinet minister cited by the newspaper said that a "very large number" of Conservative members of parliament will quit if it comes to a no-deal Brexit.

But Ireland braced for the worst with a no-deal Brexit budget while Britain announced its no-deal tarrif plan and updated on it preparations for a no-deal exit - the nightmare scenario for many big businesses. The government says those plans will minimize any resulting economic shock.

"In these days of uncertainty and tribal anger over Brexit, perhaps we should all be a little less angry with our rhetoric on both sides". It's not clear how those two statements can be reconciled - but it's clear Mr Johnson wants to pin the blame for any delay on Parliament and the European Union, so that he can campaign as a champion of Brexit in an election that's likely to be called soon.

On Tuesday, the government suspended the legislature from Wednesday until October 14, when Queen Elizabeth II will set out the government's legislative domestic agenda.

Many are anticipating an early election. The story later said that 2025 had been mooted.

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