Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Johnson to hold talks with Irish leader to avoid no-deal Brexit

Markets awaiting fresh news Boris Johnson calls EU leaders with last-gasp Brexit plea
Patty Aguilar | 09 October, 2019, 16:32

Merkel has made it clear that it is rather unlikely to come to a deal, and the European Union has the right to veto the departure of the Customs Union from the UK, Johnson's office said.

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.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted testily that "what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game". "And of course it isn't really".

No 10 has insisted Mr Johnson will comply with the law, but Laura Kuenssberg says there are still conversations going on in Downing Street about writing a second letter, making the case that a delay is unnecessary.

On Sunday, The Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson might use the Supreme Court to force him into seeking an extension, rather than do it voluntarily.

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.

Leave.EU took to Twitter to post the "offensive" advert saying that Angela Merkel wanted Northern Ireland to "rot inside the customs union".

Jane Foley, a senior foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank, said the Guardian article showed "the odds increasing of a delay until summer next year".

She said: "The EU position has not changed".

The Irish leader spoke to the USA prime minister for 45 minutes by phone and despite reports of negotiations between both sides braking down, insisted he would strive until the to reach a deal with the UK.

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According to the Downing Street official, Merkel demanded a rewrite of Britain's approach to the contentious Irish border problem that made a compromise "essentially impossible". The British government has long insisted Northern Ireland must leave the EU customs union along with the rest of the United Kingdom, to avoid splitting off the region into a different economic zone from mainland Britain.

"And I urgently would ask the Prime Minister to take control of this and give us some clarity and some dignity and diplomacy on what is taking place".

Mr Tusk's intervention 'reflects the frustration across European Union and the enormity of what's at stake for us all, ' he said. "Both sides strongly reiterated their desire to reach a Brexit deal", a Downing Street spokesman said.

But Labour called it a "cynical attempt to sabotage the negotiations".

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said that if negotiations fail, "the explanation will be found in the British camp (because) the original sin is found on the islands and not on the continent".

But he warned that a "wide difference" remained over the UK's proposals to replace the backstop mechanism for maintaining an open Irish border.

After presenting them, government sources hoped the sides might be able to enter an intense 10-day period of talks nearly immediately, but a number of senior European Union figures, including Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, warned they did not form the basis for deeper negotiations - even if they believed a deal could still be done. "The coming weeks will likely bring an extension of the Brexit deadline". The monarch will conduct a state opening of a new session of parliament next Monday.

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. The speech will then be debated by MPs throughout the week.

However, the two leaders are expected to meet for further Brexit talks later this week.

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