Brexit LIVE: Johnson tells Ireland's Varadkar UK's leaving 'NO MATTER WHAT' in tense call

Posted on Jul 30 2019 - 5:23pm by admin

Mr Varadkar responded that the Brexit withdrawal agreement could not be re-opened, and that “satisfactory” alternative arrangements have yet to be identified. He said in a phone call to Mr Johnson: “Alternative arrangements could replace the backstop in the future, but thus far satisfactory options have yet to be identified and demonstrated.” Mr Varadkar also invited Johnson to Dublin for talks on Brexit and for a discussion of bilateral matters including Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area, his press office added.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are looking likely to win in Thursday’s Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

But a new YouGov poll has put the Conservatives ahead in Wales if a general election were to take place, at 24 percent.

The latest Welsh Political Barometer Poll, which was conducted on July 23-28 on 1,071 people, also shows support for the Labour party is the lowest ever recorded, at 22 percent.


5.18pm update: Johnson and Varadkar clash over backstop

Boris Johnson clashed with his Irish counterpart over the backstop in their first phone call since the Tory MP became Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson told the Taoiseach he would approach Brexit negotiations in a “spirit of friendship” but warned any fresh deal would have to see the backstop abolished, Downing Street said.

But Leo Varadkar told him the emergency measure to prevent a return to a hard border on the island was “necessary as a consequence” of the decisions of the UK, the Irish Government said.

Their phone conversation on Tuesday came amid reports Mr Johnson was snubbing Ireland’s premier.

Number 10 said the Prime Minister used the call to tell Mr Varadkar the UK would be leaving the European Union by the Halloween deadline “no matter what”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Johnson said: “The Prime Minister made clear that the Government will approach any negotiations which take place with determination and energy, and in a spirit of friendship, and that his clear preference is to leave the EU with a deal, but it must be one that abolishes the backstop.”

3.59pm update: Johnson to EU: Ball is now in your court

Boris Johnson said the next stage of Brexit talks would be decided by Brussels, as he urged the bloc to compromise.

Speaking during a visit to Wales, he said: “If they can’t compromise, if they really can’t do it, then

clearly we have to get ready for a no-deal exit.

“It is up to the EU, this is their call, it’s their call if they want us to do this.”

3.44pm update: No deal will be ‘absolutely catastrophic’ for industry, warns Welsh sheep farmer

Helen Roberts, a sheep farmer who is development officer for the National Sheep Association in Wales has accused Boris Johnson of “playing Russian roulette with the industry”.

She told BBC Radio 4: “If we do go out with a no deal, it will be absolutely catastrophic even if it is just for a few months.”

Tariffs of at lease 40 percent will be slapped on Welsh lamb in a no deal scenario.

The farming industry is worth mor than £6 billion to the Welsh economy.

3.33pm update: Boris Johnson says under no circumstances will Northern Ireland have hard border 

The Prime Minister has reiterated his opposition to a hardening of the border between the six counties and the Republic, telling Reuters under no circumstances would he allow checks on goods passing across the line.

Mr Johnson, who has ramped up no deal preparations since entering Number 10 last week, said the more you prepare for a hard Brexit, the less likely there will be difficulties if the UK crashes out of the bloc.

2.35pm update: Boris warned he will regret sacking Jeremy Hunt, Liam Fox and Penny Mordaunt from his revamped Cabinet

They could have been “useful allies in the tempestuous weeks to come” as he fights to deliver Brexit by October 31, according to William Hague.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who lost out to his rival in the leadership race, refused a demotion and was swiftly replaced by former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who had been tasked with securing dozens of global trade deals under Theresa May, was ousted in favour of former Treasury Secretary Liz Truss.

Penny Mordaunt was replaced by Ben Wallace as Defence Secretary – after the role was initially turned down by Mr Hunt.

Between them, the ousted Cabinet members have 50 years of ministerial experience between them.

Now former Conservative leader William Hague has warned Mr Johnson that “some seeds of future trouble were unnecessarily sown” with the appointment of some Cabinet members.

He warned the Prime Minister “will come to regret” sacking the Cabinet trio.

2.17pm update: Could Scotland and Northern Ireland leave the UK if Brexit isn’t delivered? 

Mr Johnson has been told by William Hague that Scotland and Northern Ireland could leave the UK if he doesn’t successfully deliver Brexit, warning: “The risk is serious.”

On Monday, Boris Johnson travelled north of the border where he met Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

Ms Davidson had already warned she would not support the Prime Minister’s no deal Brexit stance, with the issue marking a split between the Tory leadership north and south of the border. 

Mr Johnson then clashed with Ms Sturgeon, who accused him of secretly pursuing a “dangerous” no deal Brexit, warning it is now “almost inevitable” the UK will leave the European Union without a deal on October 31.

Now former Tory leader Mr Hague has warned Mr Johnson about the importance of keeping the Union together while at the same time delivering a sufficient Brexit deal.

2.06pm update: Sinn Fein President warns Boris over hard border

The Prime Minister must call a border poll in the event of a hard boundary following Brexit, the Sinn Fein president has said.

Mary Lou McDonald is due to meet Boris Johnson and said she will remind him of his “obligations under the Good Friday and subsequent agreements including the provision for a unity referendum”.

“If the British Government have factored into their calculations a hard border, then they must factor in a unity referendum as laid out in the Good Friday Agreement,” she said.

“The route back for the North into the EU is clear. Irish unity is the route back to the EU.

“We will be meeting Boris Johnson in the coming days. We will remind him not only of the need to respect the wishes of the majority to remain within the EU.

“We will also remind him of his obligations under the Good Friday and subsequent agreements including the provision for a unity referendum.”

1.37pm update: Bors urges voters not to back Brexit Party ahead of by-election

Boris Johnson has pleaded with Leave-supporting voters not to back the Brexit Party in a crunch by-election.

The Prime Minister faces having his majority cut to just one if the Conservatives fail to hold on to Brecon and Radnorshire.

Ex-MP Chris Davies lost the seat after being ousted by constituents following his conviction for submitting fake expenses invoices.

The Tories have backed Mr Davies to fight the seat again despite his conviction and Mr Johnson is expected to visit the constituency during his first trip to Wales as Prime Minister.

The Liberal Democrats are hopeful of regaining a constituency they held until 2015 and have been boosted by Plaid Cymru’s decision not to field a candidate in order to avoid splitting the pro-EU vote.

Mr Johnson is clearly concerned that Leave voters could split between the Tories and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

He said: “The Brexit Party cannot deliver Brexit, only the Conservatives can.”

He said the Lib Dems “will do everything they can to stop Brexit” so “if the people of Brecon and Radnorshire want to get Brexit delivered on time, they need to vote for my candidate, Conservative Chris Davies”.

1.14pm update: Boris tells Varadkar UK will leave the EU ‘no matter what’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar on Tuesday that Britain will be leaving the European Union “no matter what” on Oct. 31, stressing that the so-called Irish backstop had to be removed from any exit deal.

“The prime minister made clear that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, no matter what,” said a statement from Johnson’s office about a phone call between the two.

“The prime minister made clear that the government will approach any negotiations which take place with determination and energy and in a spirit of friendship, and that his clear preference is to leave the EU with a deal, but it must be one that abolishes the backstop.”

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar told Mr Johnson Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement requires the sovereign government to exert power with “rigorous impartiality”. 

He also invited Mr Johnson to Dublin to “share further their respective analyses on Brexit”.

12.59pm update: Welsh First Minister warns he will give Boris a clear message about Brexit’s effect on Wales

Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minster Boris Johnson, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Twitter: “I will give a very clear message to @10DowningStreet today – Brexit will be catastrophic for Wales – it will decimate our agricultural and manufacturing sectors & risks ripping the Union apart.

“The PM must stop playing fast and loose with our country.”

12.41pm update: Boris speaks to Varadkar on phone

Mr Johnson is spending the day in Wales, but he had a chat with Irish Prime Minister on the phone this morning. 

A Government spokesperson said: “There has been contact at official level and it’s expected that the Taoiseach and the PM will speak in the near future.”

Mr Varadkar congratulated Mr Johnson on his new role last Tuesday in a Twitter post.

But the next day he said in an interview that Mr Johnson’s plans for a new EU withdrawal deal was “not in the real world”.

12.10pm update: Keir Starmer vows to investigate civil service if they don’t speak out over no deal Brexit

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexir secretary, has warned he will hold the civil service to account if it does not speak up about Boris Johnson’s plans.

He has written to Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, to demand all permanent secretaries get written letters of instructions from ministers for no-deal plans that do not “represent value for money”.

He does not think Mr Johnson’s “do or die” approach to Brexit is necessary, but rather a choice that impartial civil servants need to reject. 

11.47pm update: Boris Johnson’s Brexit game plan REVEALED and it certainly does not match the EU’s

Mr Johnson has urged Brussels to “come to its senses” regarding Brexit as he continued to insist that the chances of a no deal exit from the EU remained at “a million to one” if the EU showed “goodwill and common sense”.

The new PM called on the EU to scrap the controversial Irish border backstop and institute a free trade deal with the UK without red tape.

During a visit to Scotland yesterday, Mr Johnson said the current withdrawal agreement was “dead” and that the intended to “get this thing done”.

Mr Johnson said: “My approach is to be very outward going.

“I don’t want the UK to be aloof or hanging back, I want us to engage, to hold out the hand of friendship, to go the extra thousands of miles.

“But what we want to do is make absolutely clear that the backstop is no good.”

During his campaign to become the next leader of the country, Mr Johnson said the odds of a no deal were a “million to one”.

Yesterday he added: “Provided there is sufficient goodwill on the part of our partners that is exactly where I would put the odds.”

But sources in the Commission reported the EU was ready to call Boris Johnson’s bluff.

Brussel reporter Nick Gutteridge said EU officials are adamant a new deal will not be negotiated.

He claims Brussels believes Mr Johnson wants to make the European Council meeting in October into a mammoth all-night negotiation at which, the new PM hopes, the EU27 leaders will endorse at the 11th hour renegotiation.

Instead the European Union is planning to turn the October 17 summit into a final no-deal preparation event with “a blitz on contingency measures” and “communiques bracing businesses and financial markets.”

11.17am update: Real reason EU leaders won’t budge on Boris Johnson’s no deal Brexit threat

Speaking to Channel 4 News, the director of the Centre for European Reform Charles Grant claimed European Union chiefs believe an early general election is likely and that Boris Johnson “wants to be stopped” in his bluff to take the UK out of the EU without an agreement.

Mr Grant argued the EU also expects Jeremy Corbyn to win such an election and call for a second Brexit referendum.

He explained: “European leaders think a general election is quite likely and they think that if there is an election it could be won by Jeremy Corbyn supported by Liberals and the SNP.

“Then possibly there could be a second referendum.

“That is certainly an option considered by Europe.”

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