Pathway to Brexit ‘possible’ after meeting

 

BORIS Johnson has been given a boost as Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar agreed his Brexit deal is still possible after crunch 11th hour talks.

The PM and the Irish leader "agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal" after a secret summit at Thornton Manor in Cheshire.

They said in a joint statement: "The Prime Minister and Taoiseach have had a detailed and constructive discussion. Both continue to believe that a deal is in everybody's interest. They agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal," it read.

"They agreed to reflect further on their discussions and that officials would continue to engage intensively on them," the statement read. "Following their discussions the Taoiseach will consult with the Taskforce 50 and the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will meet Michel Barnier tomorrow morning."

Mr Johnson laid out his Brexit plans again as the countries try to reach a compromise to avoid the spectre of a no-deal departure on October 31 that would damage both countries' economies.

Mr Johnson's Brexit negotiating tactics were yesterday blasted in an extraordinary rant by EU boss Guy Verhofstadt.

He called the British Prime Minister a "traitor" three times as he addressed the European Parliament.

 

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet tonight in an attempt to reach a compromise to avoid the spectre of a no-deal Brexit. Picture: Getty Images
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet tonight in an attempt to reach a compromise to avoid the spectre of a no-deal Brexit. Picture: Getty Images

 

He said Mr Johnson was waging a "blame game," trying to point the finger at everyone but himself as to why a deal hadn't been done.

"The only one who must not be blamed is Mr Johnson himself apparently. All the rest are the source of all problems," he said.

"Everyone not playing his game are traitors or collaborators, or surrenders.

"In my opinion the real traitor is he or she who will risk bringing disaster upon its country, economy and its citizens by pushing Britain out of the EU. That is my opinion, a traitor."

The rant came after Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told the European parliament that Mr Johnson's plans would not work.

Mr Barnier said "we are really not in a position to be able to find an agreement" at the moment.

 

The UK is due to depart the European Union on October 31. Picture: AP
The UK is due to depart the European Union on October 31. Picture: AP

 

He blasted the British proposals as "not properly tested" and based on technology which hasn't been developed yet.

"The British proposal does not give us the same safety net as the backstop," he insisted.

In other developments, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned that a no-deal Brexit would lead to "spivs" making a fortune by selling medicines that were in short supply.

"With exactly three weeks to go to October 31 and a no-deal Brexit edging closer, it's not just hedge funds that may be trying to cash in," he said.

 

 

The German Ambassador to Ireland said that Germany is under "no pressure" to accept a deal from the UK over Brexit.

Ireland allocated $1.6 billion (AUD) to no-deal Brexit preparations in its budget, as all signs point to the UK crashing out of the market.

However, it remains unclear how Mr Johnson will avoid asking the EU for a Brexit extension on October 19, which is now required by law.

 

President of the EU Parliament David Sassoli and Mr Johnson. It remains unclear how Mr Johnson will avoid asking the EU for a Brexit extension. Picture: AP
President of the EU Parliament David Sassoli and Mr Johnson. It remains unclear how Mr Johnson will avoid asking the EU for a Brexit extension. Picture: AP

 

Mr Johnson may be able to trigger a general election and if he won a majority could force through a no-deal Brexit after the proposed extension deadline of January 31.

Unite Union assistant general secretary Steve Turner said a no-deal Brexit would cost jobs in a meeting with UK minister Michael Gove.

"There is no way that he doesn't, or cannot, understand the implications of a no-deal Brexit, yet when we asked him to explicitly rule out a no-deal, he had no response," Mr Turner said.

"We can only conclude that this government is making a political choice and does not care about the consequences."

A UK Government spokesman said: "We have worked closely with employers for over three years to prepare for Brexit including having regular discussions with trade unions.

"With employment at a record high and with investment in skills and education a top priority, we believe UK businesses are well placed to seize the opportunities that arise from our departure."

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk