EU accuses Boris Johnson of playing a ‘stupid blame game’ as the UK says a Brexit deal is now impossible

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EU accuses Boris Johnson of playing a 'stupid blame game' as the UK says a Brexit deal is now impossible - The Reports

EU accuses Boris Johnson of playing a 'stupid blame game' as the UK says a Brexit deal is now impossible - The Reports Getty

  • The European Council’s president, Donald Tusk, has accused Boris Johnson of playing a “stupid blame game” on Brexit as relations with the United Kingdom reach a new low.
  • An exasperated Tusk tweeted Tuesday morning that Johnson didn’t “want a deal.”
  • The outburst followed an explosive anonymous UK government briefing on Tuesday suggesting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had told Johnson a deal had become impossible.
  • The German government declined to comment on the conversation between the two leaders.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

LONDON — The European Council’s president, Donald Tusk, has accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of playing a “stupid blame game” on Brexit as tensions between the United Kingdom government and the European Union approach a boiling point.

Tusk’s comments followed an anonymous briefing by Johnson’s aides Tuesday suggesting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had signaled a Brexit deal was “impossible” unless Northern Ireland remained fully aligned with the EU’s customs union.

Following reports of the briefing, Tusk accused Johnson of sabotaging the chances of agreement on Brexit.

“You don’t want a deal, you don’t want an extension, you don’t want to revoke, quo vadis?” he tweeted, using the Latin phrase for “Where are you going?”

[email protected], what’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game. 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?

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident)
October 8, 2019

Tusk’s comments were endorsed by the Irish government.

“Hard to disagree — reflects the frustration across EU and the enormity of what’s at stake for us all,” Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney tweeted. “We remain open to finalize a fair Brexit deal but need a UK Govt willing to work with EU to get it done.”

A representative for Johnson rejected Tusk’s accusation that the prime minister was using a “stupid blame game.”

“Absolutely not,” the person said. “It’s not us talking in that language.”

Relations between Johnson’s government and the EU hit a new low Tuesday after an anonymous Downing Street source issued a blistering statement accusing Brussels of not wanting to negotiate a new deal.

The source paraphrased Merkel as saying the UK would not be able to leave the EU without leaving Northern Ireland to remain in full alignment with EU rules “forever.”

A representative for the German chancellor declined to comment on what Merkel had or had not told Johnson.

Read more: The pound is tanking after Boris Johnson’s Brexit talks with Angela Merkel reportedly hit a dead end

Johnson’s opponents accused him of trying to sabotage any prospect of a deal in an attempt to force a no-deal Brexit.

“This is yet another cynical attempt by Number 10 to sabotage the negotiations,” Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said in a statement.

“Boris Johnson will never take responsibility for his own failure to put forward a credible deal. His strategy from day one has been for a No Deal Brexit.

“It is now more important than ever that Parliament unites to prevent this reckless Government crashing us out of the EU at the end of the month.”

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrats’ Brexit spokesman, said: “The blame for this mess does not lie with Merkel. It lies on the shoulders of the Conservatives.”

Heading for no deal?

EU accuses Boris Johnson of playing a 'stupid blame game' as the UK says a Brexit deal is now impossible - The Reports GettyThe prime minister last week revealed his latest Brexit proposals for managing the Irish border after the UK leaves the EU.

The proposals have been broadly rejected by senior EU figures, with Brussels declining to enter new formal negotiations.

The question of how to prevent physical checks on the island of Ireland is at the center of the Brexit impasse.

Under Johnson’s proposals, sent to the EU last week, there would be a new customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit if there are no new trading arrangements in place.

The proposal has been roundly rejected by the Irish government, however, with the deputy prime minister saying last week that the country “could not possibly” support them.

The disagreement points Britain toward a no-deal scenario at the end of October.

Under the terms of a piece of legislation passed by opposition members of the UK Parliament last month, however, Johnson must request a delay to Brexit if he fails to secure a deal by October 19.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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