Boris Johnson Returns Fire At Donald Tusk Over 'Mr No-Deal Brexit' Comment

The PM said: “I have made it absolutely clear I don’t want a no-deal Brexit."
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Boris Johnson has escalated a war of words with Donald Tusk ahead of their G7 meeting on Sunday, by warning the EU that it would be responsible for a no-deal-Brexit if it fails to scrap the Northern Ireland backstop.

Speaking to reporters on the plane to Biarritz, the PM said: “I have 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 have got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty.”

Johnson also fired back at comments Tusk made earlier on Saturday when he said he hoped the prime minister would not go down in history as “Mr no-deal”.

The PM said: “If Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as ‘Mr no-deal Brexit’ then I hope that point will be borne in mind by him too.”

Johnson is expected to set out his plans for Brexit in talks with Tusk, building on visits in recent days to the leaders of Germany and France.

Speaking at the summit in France before Johnson’s arrival, the former Polish prime minister said: “He will be the third British Conservative prime minister with whom I will discuss Brexit.

“The EU was always open to co-operation when David Cameron wanted to avoid Brexit, when Theresa May wanted to avoid a no-deal Brexit, and we will also be ready now to hold serious talks with Prime Minister Johnson.

“One thing I will not co-operate on is no-deal. I still hope that prime minster Johnson will not like to go down in history as ‘Mr no-deal’.

“We are willing to listen to ideas that are operational, realistic and acceptable to all member states including Ireland, if and when the UK government is ready to put them on the table.”

On board his RAF plane to the summit, Johnson also hit back at Tusk’s famous line that there was a ‘special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan’.

Asked to respond to a jibe that had been clear directed at himself and other leaders of the Vote Leave campaign in the EU referendum, Johnson had a barb of his own.

“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 [the theology of death] with the president of the council,” he said.

However, when asked what he would do should MPs pass legislation which would force him to seek an extension to the UK’s membership of the EU after October 31, the PM ducked the question.

“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,” he said.

Before setting off for the coastal resort of Biarritz, Johnson warned Brexit critics they are “gravely mistaken” about the UK losing its place on the world stage as he prepared for his first international summit and trade talks with US president Donald Trump.


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