German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson that a Brexit deal is “overwhelmingly unlikely”, according to Downing Street.
Number 10 has said that Boris Johnson spent half an hour talking on the phone to Ms Merkel on Tuesday morning. They are thought to have discussed Mr Johnson’s new proposals on Brexit that were set out last week and it is thought that the Prime Minister stressed that Brexit talks are close to “breaking down.”
A Number 10 source said;
“The call with Merkel showed the EU has adopted a new position. She made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the Customs Union. Merkel said that if Germany wanted to leave the EU they could do it no problem but the Uk cannot leave without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union and in full alignment forever. She said that Ireland is the government’s special problem and Ireland must at least have a veto on NI leaving. Merkel said that the PM should tell Northern Ireland that it must stay in full alignment forever, but that even this would not eliminate customs issues.
“It was a very useful clarifying moment in all sorts of ways. If this represents a new established position, then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever. it also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday Agreement.”
The UK government has repeatedly said that the UK is leaving the EU on October 31, with or without a deal, despite a law passed by Parliament attempting to avert a no-deal scenario.
What will happen next is uncertain, but it is thought that Brexit talks with the EU could be called off within days, if not earlier. MPs will then need to decide whether to allow the government to continue with likely a no-deal exit or make some intervention to attempt to stop it.