ANALYSIS How Boris Johnson is laying the groundwork to blame everyone but himself for a no-deal Brexit
Boris Johnson chose his words very carefully when he claimed MPs and the EU are in “collaboration” on Brexit, and it is all about winning the blame game in a no-deal scenario.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to leave the EU without an agreement in place, but his red line of removing the backstop is making talks with Brussels a non-starter.
So with the “million-to-one” outcome now looking like the most likely option, Number 10 are already looking for scapegoats.
That is why within seconds of a supposedly “unpasteurised” Facebook Q&A starting, Johnson talked about an alliance which is sending the UK hurtling towards no-deal.
Very conveniently, it has apparently nothing to do with him.
After Philip Hammond said he was "very confident" the Commons could block no-deal, the PM spoke of: “A terrible kind of collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.”
And he said the EU are “sticking with every letter, every comma of the Withdrawal Agreement” because they “still think that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament”.
The coup de grace was the next line, revealing the true reason for this argument being made; pitch-rolling for the inevitable finger pointing the day after October 31.
He added: “And so the awful thing is the longer that goes on, the more likely it is of course that we will be forced to leave with a no-deal Brexit.”
Hammering home his theme the PM argued the more the EU thinks “there’s a chance that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position".
This follows on from comments made by a senior Government source on Monday, saying the lack of visible negotiations on improving the Withdrawal Agreement is not due to intransigence from Number 10.
But instead, it is because Brussels is waiting to see what happens when Parliament returns from recess before starting formal negotiations.
They said the PM believes September 9 is when rebel Tories will launch their bid to pass legislation preventing him from taking the UK out of the EU without their approval.
If they fail it will trigger a willingness to re-start talks, meaning if an improved deal was to be done “it would come very late” in the run up to the Hallowe’en deadline.
And if no new agreement is made, it appears the seeds of a ready-made excuse have already been planted.