Boris Johnson hits back in row with Donald Tusk over who will go down as 'Mr No-Deal Brexit'

Posted On: 
25th August 2019

Boris Johnson has hit back at Donald Tusk after he was warned that he will go down in history as “Mr No-Deal”.

Boris Johnson (far left) and Donald Tusk (far right) are in a war of words over no-deal
Credit: 
PA

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The Prime Minister ramped up the war of words with the EU leader ahead of talks at the G7 in Biarritz, where he is expected to say the UK will withhold £30bn of the “divorce bill” under a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Tusk said as he arrived for the summit in southern France that he was “willing to listen to ideas that are operational, realistic and acceptable to all EU member states, including Ireland, if and when the UK government is ready to”.

But the European Council President added: “The one thing I will not cooperate on is no-deal, and I still hope that Prime Minister Johnson will not like to go down in history as ‘Mr No Deal’.”

When those words were put to the PM by reporters on the plane as he flew over on Saturday he pushed back, saying that Mr Tusk was the one who risked earning that title.

He said: “As I’ve made it absolutely clear, I don’t want a no-deal Brexit but I say to our friends in the EU: if they don’t want a no-deal Brexit then we’ve got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty.

“If Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as ‘Mr No-Deal Brexit’ then I hope that point should be born in mind by him too.”

But the PM added he did not want to get into a debate with Mr Tusk about how either of them will be remembered.  

He said: “I have great relations with our friends and partners in the EU and intend to continue to improve them the whole time without getting into any post-Brexit eschatology with the president of the Council.

"I think it’s Parliament’s job now to respect not just the will of the people but to remember what the overwhelming majority of them promised to do over and over and over again and that is to get Brexit done, to respect the will of the people and to come out of the EU on October 31. 

“That is what I am confident our Parliament will do. I am confident that they will understand that their historic function is to respect the will of the people, the democratic mandate, and get it done.”