Brexit deal is essentially impossible ever, says Downing Street source

Andrew Cummings
October 9, 2019

The Downing Street official quoted Merkel as saying that a deal now looked "overwhelmingly unlikely", and added that the Brexit talks were "close to breaking down".

Britain has been trying for more than three years to find a way to deliver on the result of a 2016 referendum and end its nearly five-decade involvement in the European project.

That's not Angela Merkel's fault.

In Berlin, Ms Merkel's office said it would not comment "on such confidential discussions".

The BBC's Brussels correspondent, Adam Fleming, said the German chancellery had not released their interpretation of the call, and it would be important to "compare and contrast".

"Boris Johnson, what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game", he tweeted.

'At stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom as well as the security and interests of our people.

Amid the dramatic escalation in the war of words between London and Brussels, there was apparent alarm among some United Kingdom ministers at the prospect the Government could withdraw security co-operation with the European Union if it tries to stop the United Kingdom leaving in a no-deal Brexit at the end of the month.


Talks between Frost and junior European Union officials were to begin later Tuesday, then chief European Union negotiator Michel Barnier was to meet Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney in the evening.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "Both sides strongly reiterated their desire to reach a Brexit deal".

The pair could meet in person later this week, he added.

An EU summit, with Brexit on the table, is due next week and Johnson is has vowed to take the country of the EU by October 31 - without delay.

The Irish government published a 2020 spending plan with a $1.95 billion relief fund based on the assumption that there will be no agreement.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who opposes Brexit, tweeted: "The UK government's attempts to shift the blame for the Brexit fiasco to anyone but themselves - today it's Merkel - is pathetically transparent".

Brussels on Thursday said it needed Britain to present a viable proposal for the post-Brexit UK-Irish border, rather than "untried" arrangements that could be subject to cancellation.

The unnamed Downing Street briefings have been widely attributed to Dominic Cummings, the former Vote Leave supremo who is now the prime minister's chief adviser.


"The only explanation I can see for these reports is that Johnson is trying to build a story where he blames Germany for a no-deal Brexit".

Parliament is expected to be suspended Tuesday evening until October 14 to give Johnson's government the chance to set out a new legislative agenda in a "Queen's Speech".

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".

David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament, warned that the EU "will not agree to a deal that undermines the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process or compromise the integrity of our single market", as he sounded a pessimistic note following a meeting with Johnson in London.

How people and goods will move across the Irish border is the main sticking point in a deal.

"If this represents a new established position then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever", the Downing Street source said.

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.


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