Europe

Nigel Farage warns of Theresa May-style EU stitch-up to get Brexit deal through

Nigel Farage raised concerns over the Prime Minister asking MPs to vote through Parliament the same Brexit withdrawal agreement Theresa May negotiated after minimal changes. Boris Johnson pledged to deliver Britain out of the European Union “come what may” but remained committed to striking a deal with Brussels before October 31. But Mr Farage cited a letter the Prime Minister addressed to European Council President Donald Tusk and his response as potential signals a stitch-up may be looming.

Speaking on LBC, Mr Farage said: “If you read between the lines of what’s been said back by Donald Tusk and by Angela Merkel, they are both saying there is actually some room for negotiation here.

“Merkel has said we can perhaps make changes to the political declaration, Tusk has said the backstop stays unless an alternative can be found.

“What I think will happen, and where I think Boris was right, is that Brussels will wait and they’ll see. Can Jeremy Corbyn get a motion of no confidence against the Government? Can Corbyn bring the Government down?”

The Brexit Party leader continued: “That is what Brussels would like to see but if that doesn’t happen, I think by mid-September there will be an attempt between Brussels and Boris Johnson’s Government to get a withdrawal agreement back on the table.

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As somebody who wants Brexit, I do not want a withdrawal agreement that costs us £39billion, that still leaves us subject to a foreign court.

“I’m worried we could face a sort of Theresa May-type 2 deal.”

In his letter to President Tusk, Mr Johnson renewed his demands for the removal of the Irish backstop from the withdrawal agreement to facilitate a positive conclusion of the negotiations.

The bloc however has repeatedly rejected such calls as they insist the policy – originally devised to avoid the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland in the event of a no deal – is necessary to ensure the safety of the Good Friday Agreement. 

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After announcing he would not meet with Eurocrats until they agree to relent on the backstop, the Prime Minister announced plans to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to unlock the log jam.

The Prime Minister is expected to warn the German Chancellor that there will be no Brexit agreement unless the EU agrees to scrap the Irish backstop.

The Chancellor said Brussels would try to find “practical solutions” to the backstop problem – but has insisted it would not be removed from the withdrawal agreement.

Florian Hahn, a spokesman for Angela Merkel’s CDU party, said: “There cannot and will not be new negotiations. It is completely impossible that the backstop will be removed from the agreement or softened.

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“The only possible offer would be to agree more precise language for the political declaration on the future relationship between the EU and UK after Brexit. But I fear this won’t be enough for Boris Johnson.”

Ahead of the meeting with his European counterparts, Mr Johnson said the bloc was “a bit negative” about the prospects of reaching a Brexit deal.

Brussels earlier rejected his demand that it reopen the Brexit divorce deal, saying Britain had failed to propose policy for the Irish border.

The Prime Minister told reporters: “At the moment it is absolutely true that our friends and partners are a bit negative but I think we’ll get there. I think there is a real sense now that something needs to be done with this backstop.”

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