- According to the BBC, the German Chancellor made it clear that an exit agreement based on these plans was very “unlikely.”
- Members of the European and British governments hypothesize the UK intentionally leaked the information Tuesday morning.
- According to Amber Rudd, who resigned from Johnson's government, the source appears to be referendum engineer Dominic Cummings.
A Brexit deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) is “virtually impossible,” British government sources told local media on Tuesday after a telephone call between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Johnson and Merkel spoke on Tuesday morning about Johnson’s proposals to the EU last week.
According to the BBC, the German Chancellor made it clear that an exit agreement based on these plans was very “unlikely.” A British government source quoted by The Spectator magazine also said Johnson already thinks negotiations with the European bloc will fail, and that he will have to “do all sorts of things” to prevent another Brexit postponement. “If the deal dies in the next few days, we will not revive it,” said this source close to Johnson, who reiterated that he would withdraw the UK from the EU on October 31 without asking for a third postponement.
Speculation has been rife about the prime minister’s intention to find a breach in the law passed by the British Parliament in September to force him to request a further postponement in the absence of a deal by October 19. After the information leaked, European Council President Donald Tusk criticized the UK’s management of Brexit. “Boris Johnson, what’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game,” European Council President Tusk said on Twitter. “At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people. You don’t want a deal. You don’t want an extension; you don’t want to revoke, quo vadis?” Tusk Tweeted.
Members of the European and British governments, however, hypothesize that the United Kingdom intentionally leaked information Tuesday morning to make clear to the other 27 member states that Johnson was determined to leave by the October 31 deadline. According to former Work and Pensions Minister Amber Rudd, who resigned from Johnson’s government in September, the source appears to be Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s special advisor and architect of Brexit’s 2016 referendum victory. “I urgently would ask the prime minister to take control of this and give us some clarity and some dignity and diplomacy on what is taking place,” Rudd told BBC Radio.
Johnson has said he would rather “die in a ditch” than request an extension until the end of January, although an opposition-driven law obliges the government to request an extension of negotiations if a deal isn’t reached by October 19. The European Commission, however, has assured that negotiations at the technical level with the United Kingdom have not broken down.
“Technical talks are continuing today so I don’t see how talks could have actually broken down if they are happening today and in the days to continue,” said EU government spokeswoman Mina Andreeva. She added that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, will inform the rest of the Commissioners tomorrow of the state of the talks. She said the EU is still working on the United Kingdom’s bid to leave on October 31, as it was reiterated “by the British Prime Minister.”