The EU chief’s furious remarks come after Boris Johnson said the Brussels bloc had to “look deep into our eyes” and realise Britain was prepared to walk away on October 31 with or without a Brexit deal. The Tory leadership frontrunner inisted his pledge to leave by the Halloween deadline was not a bluff, telling the Sunday Telegraph: “No honestly come on. We’ve got to show a bit more gumption about this.”
A furious Mr Verhofstadt responded by tweeting: “Brexit is not a game! A no-deal would be disastrous both for the UK and for Europe.”
Mr Johnson has pledged to get the UK “match fit for no deal” to ensure it can leave the European Union on October 31 “come what may”.
The Tory leadership frontrunner said there would be “no second chances” as he stressed that Halloween was a real deadline, “not a fake one” – a comment aimed at his rival Jeremy Hunt.
READ MORE: When will Tory members vote for new PM?
His pledge comes as Remainers use today as their last chance to block a no deal Brexit.
The Government has tabled a bill to delay any new election to the Northern Ireland Assembly while power-sharing talks continue.
The proposed bill, being put to the Commons today, could see a future NI assembly election pushed back until at least October 21, possibly even January next year. Former attorney general Dominic Grieve told the BBC the bill is a “perfectly legitimate place” to look at ways to stop a no-deal Brexit.
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11.24am update: Dominic Grieve vows to stop no deal Brexit
Dominic Grieve says his attempt to block a no deal Brexit “is so proper it’s difficult to give an argument to the contrary”.
He told ITV News: “The only people who can possibly be wanting to oppose it are so fanatical…they’re prepared to upturn to the constitution of the United Kingdom.”
He said “there are different ways” to stop the shutting down of Parliament he he hasn’t “got a fixed way of doing it”
Mr Grieve said: “The only people who can possibly be wanting to oppose it are so fanatical…they’re prepared to upturn to the constitution of the United Kingdom.”
10.10am update: Piers Morgan makes barb about Boris Johnson
Piers Morgan joined Lord Alan Sugar and businessman Mark Wright at the latter’s inaugural business conference, ClimbCon, last month.
Talk soon turned to the effect Brexit could have on the business landscape and economy and, naturally, proceeded to encompass the state of UK politics. On the subject of possible future Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 55, the sharp-tongued Good Morning Britain presenter said: “I’ve known Boris 25 years. He’s obviously full of c**p a lot of the time — he’s Boris!
“But for everyone who hates him, there’s someone who loves him.
“He’s very charming, he can be very funny,” he continued, quipping: “Wouldn’t want him near your wife too many times.”
9.44am update: Boris Johnson odds shorter than ever to become next PM
Having headed the betting from the moment Theresa May announced she’d be stepping down, Ladbrokes have now cut odds to record lows of 1/20, with Jeremy Hunt way out at 12/1.
Meanwhile, just 6/4 says Johnson’s members’ ballot vote share sits between 70-80 percent.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “The odds speak for themselves, and it’s surely now just a case of when, not if, Boris replaces May.”
Ladbrokes Latest Betting
Next Tory Leader
Boris Johnson – 1/20
Jeremy Hunt – 12/1
9.13am update: Rees-Mogg snaps over Boris no deal Brexit pledge
The prominent Tory Brexiteer was quizzed by BBC host John Pienaar on Radio 5 Live over Mr Johnson delivering his pledge to leave the EU with or without a deal.
The presenter said: “There are sceptics about Brexit. You’ll know this who have been in to see Boris Johnson and have come out with a quite different idea of what he might end up doing.
“Different parts of the party have walked away with different notions of what might happen. You will know that as well as I do.”
Mr Rees-Mogg simply replied: “I don’t think that is right.
“I think people sometimes focus, concentrate on different bits of the conversation.
“But, Boris has been absolutely clear to everybody. The withdrawal agreement is defunct.”
8.46am update: Farage lays out how Boris can get no deal through Parliament
Nigel Farage told the Tory leadership frontrunner he must send a strong message to the European Union to signal the UK is “serious” about leaving without a deal.
Speaking on his Sunday LBC show, the Brexit Party leader said: “This is what he has to do. He has to go to the house of commons and say ‘we, as an institution, our two big political parties, we are now losing the support and confidence of the country, not just in us as people, not just in us as parties, but actually the entire democratic system is now open to question.’
“We have to deliver Brexit, there is no other way of doing it than leaving on 31st October. I did give notice in Brussels that we are leaving on that date on WTO terms. I’ve told them we absolutely mean it.’
“‘I told them I’m coming to the House of Commons to ask for a majority on it and that, once that is done, it is common interests for the both of us to apply to the World Trade Organisation to act as an honest, willing broker, to use Article 24 of the GATT Treaty, to smooth the way and give us a couple of years to smooth everything out.'”
8.32am update: Boris calls for apprenticeship boost
Mr Johnson argued the case for increasing access to apprenticeships.
Writing in his regular Daily Telegraph column, he said: “We need to make sure that we not only properly fund all manner of technical and vocational education – from further education colleges to apprenticeships – and if I am lucky enough to be elected, we will.”
The newspaper reported that Mr Johnson would aim to boost non-university options as ways of getting ahead and reinvigorate plans for a £100 million “retraining fund” to give workers useful skills.
The scale of the challenge facing Mr Johnson to steer a no-deal Brexit through a hostile Commons was underlined by former leadership hopeful Sam Gyimah.
He suggested “about 30, 30-plus” Tories would vote to block Mr Johnson suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.