Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

EU's Tusk to Boris Johnson: 'Where are you heading?'

Appeal launched after court dismisses legal action against PM Boris Johnson calls EU leaders with last-gasp Brexit plea
Deanna Wagner | 09 October, 2019, 14:07

The UK parliament, which is deeply divided over Brexit, rejected that plan three times.

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

Johnson has repeatedly vowed to take Britain out of European Union on October 31 even without a divorce deal in place, but a law called the Benn Act requires him to seek a delay if a deal is not agreed by October 19.

"Boris Johnson, what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game", European Council President Tusk said on Twitter. Tusk asked, using the Latin expression for "where are you headed?".

With just 23 days before the United Kingdom is due to leave the bloc, the future of Brexit remains deeply uncertain as both London and Brussels position themselves to avoid blame for a delay or a disorderly no-deal Brexit. A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies published on Tuesday said leaving without a deal could double Britain's budget deficit to around 100 billion pounds ($123 billion). It was down 0.3% against the euro at 89.22 pence.

A proposal put forward by Johnson last week would see the controversial backstop, which is created to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland, replaced with a system that would include "decentralised" economic controls. How people and goods will move across the Irish border is the main sticking point to a deal.

Relations between Johnson's government and the European Union hit a new low Tuesday after an anonymous Downing Street source issued a blistering statement accusing Brussels of not wanting to negotiate a new deal.

Mr Johnson also outlined his latest proposals in a telephone call to French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, according to an Elysee official.

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Johnson has consistently said the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal, though a law passed by parliament demands he write a letter to the European Union asking for a delay if he can not strike an exit deal by October 19.

Mr Johnson needs a deal sorted by the end of October 17/18 if he is to avoid a dilemma over the Benn Act, which compels him to ask Brussels for an extension if he can not get an agreement past MPs when he returns, a move he has ruled out taking.

Sterling slid against the euro and the United States dollar after a sell-off was triggered by a statement from Downing Street, highlighting that the Prime Minister had a hard conversation on Brexit with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I suspect there are different views in the British system, some hardline, some wanting a deal and all I can say is that there is an ongoing conversation in Brussels and they want to contribute to that in a constructive way to try and find an outcome here that protects everybody".

Simon Coveney suggested briefings emerging from Downing Street were an effort to put pressure on the Dublin government to make concessions.

"Our legal advice is clear that we can do all sorts of things to scupper delay which for obvious reasons we aren't going into details about", the Spectator's source said.

Those who support further delays would "go to the bottom of the queue", including on security issues, the sourced added.