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Sat, 24 October 2020

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Boris Johnson in veiled swipe at Philip Hammond as he claims 'collaboration' between MPs and EU over no-deal

Boris Johnson in veiled swipe at Philip Hammond as he claims 'collaboration' between MPs and EU over no-deal
3 min read

Boris Johnson has hit out at a “terrible collaboration” between MPs who want to block Brexit and the EU, saying it is forcing the UK towards no-deal.

The Prime Minister made a thinly-veiled attack on Philip Hammond, after the former Chancellor said he was "very confident" the Commons can prevent such a scenario.

Speaking during a Q&A on Facebook Live, Mr Johnson accused British politicians of encouraging Brussels to not offer any compromises on the Brexit deal.

He was asked on the livestream, which Downing Street dubbed 'The People’s PMQs', how he intends to quit by October 31 given the lack of "movement from the EU” and “still so much opposition in Parliament”.

The PM said: “There’s 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 our European friends are…not compromising at all on the Withdrawal Agreement, even though is has been thrown out three times.

“They are sticking with every letter, every comma of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, because they still think that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament.

“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.”

The PM insisted that he did not want that to happen, but he argued that 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".

Mr Johnson added: “But I remain confident that we'll get there, we will come out of the European Union on 31 October because I think, in the end, both our friends in other European capitals and, I think, MPs will see that its vital to get on and to do it.”

The comments drew swift condemnation from anti-Brexit camapginers, with Naomi Smith of the Best for Britain group saying: “It’s extraordinary that the new Prime Minister has decided to lash out at our closest trading partners like this.

“This administration and the last one have failed time and again to negotiate properly, suggesting only fantasy proposals."

Earlier this week a senior Government source claimed Mr Johnson had identified 9 September as a key date in the battle with MPs who want to block no-deal.

And they said Downing Street believed the EU would not get back to the negotiating table until those attempts in the Commons failed to prevent him from pursuing such an outcome.

But any plans the PM might have had to prorogue Parliament in order to achieve a no-deal Brexit will face strong opposition from John Bercow, who has promised to "fight with every breath in my body" to prevent that from happening

The Commons Speaker threw down the gauntlet to Number 10 - which has repeatedly refused to rule out the controversial move - as he insisted the House of Commons "must have its way" on the issue.


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