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Johnson accuses European Union of making it impossible to leave with a deal

09 October 2019

Downing Street is preparing for a breakdown in talks with the European Union over Brexit this week, according to leaked texts from No 10.

After Downing Street offered an extremely negative reaction to a phone call between Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Tusk quickly retorted that the EU-U.K. talks weren't about apportioning blame if the divorce turns out to be a chaotic and costly no-deal exit.

"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.

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.

Mr Johnson had reiterated to the president his warning that the United Kingdom would leave by the Halloween deadline regardless of whether a deal was in place.

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

Neither the German chancellery, nor the European Commission would confirm the contents of the call.

More news: European Union brands Brexit deal 'essentially impossible'

But he told reporters the pair had a "frank exchange" - diplomatic speak for a disagreement.

Describing the reports of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar being totally inflexible over the backstop as "misinformation", Coveney said at a press conference in Dublin: "No country wants a deal more than Ireland but we will not strike a deal at any cost".

Irish leader Leo Varadkar said Ireland and the European Union would not accept an agreement at "any cost".

'I think it is going to be very hard to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly'.

According to the BBC, the prime minister's office believes talks are now "close to breaking down".

And Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "The UK government's attempt to shift the blame for the Brexit fiasco to anyone but themselves - today it's Merkel - is pathetically transparent".

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.

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The pound sunk to its lowest level against the dollar and euro in more than a month on Tuesday, after an apparent breakdown in Brexit talks.

Johnson, who took over as PM from Theresa May in July, has been accused of political manoeuvring before calling a snap general election to strengthen his position in parliament.

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".

Mr Johnson sent new proposals to Brussels last week, with the key focus being on replacing the so-called backstop - the policy negotiated by Theresa May and the European Union to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland - which has always been a sticking point.

It envisages keeping Northern Ireland aligned with the EU's single market regulations, but part of a UK-wide customs territory.

The need to keep Northern Ireland in the European customs union - at least until the United Kingdom finds another suitable way to control goods flowing across the Irish border without the need for additional checks - has been the EU's position since the start of the Brexit negotiations.

Downing Street officials say Brussels is making a big mistake because failure in the coming days to reach a deal would result in Britain's position only hardening down the line.

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"[EU member nations] supporting delay will be seen by this government as hostile interference in domestic politics", the unnamed source told the magazine, edited by Johnson himself between 1999 and 2005.

Johnson accuses European Union of making it impossible to leave with a deal