BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg reveals PM’s Brexit strategy if he’s forced into a general election

The Prime Minister has repeatedly said the UK will leave the EU with or without a deal at the end of the month, but has also said he will abide with the Benn Act which aims to stop a no deal Brexit. BBC News’ Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg has revealed the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy, if Brits are eventually forced to go back to the ballot box in the form of a general election. Writing on Twitter, the Political Editor claimed there had been a meeting of One Nation Tories with the Prime Minister where Mr Johnson “assured” MPs the Conservatives would not become a “no deal party”.

Ms Kuenssberg added she had been told that a future Conservative Party manifesto would include the promise to leave with a deal, but to deliver no deal “at speed if it can’t be done”.

She wrote: “A group of One Nation Tories met the Prime Minister this afternoon to demand that Tory manifesto in the hypothetical coming election wouldn’t be straightforward promise to leave without a deal.

“MP present said Johnson assured them they would not become a simple ‘no deal’ party and it was not the policy of the Government right now.

“MPs made clear that there were dozens of them who wouldn’t be willing to sign up to that kind of pledge.

“As I understand it from various sources, consideration right now is that manifesto would likely include a promise to leave with a deal if poss but leave without a deal at speed if it can’t be done, within days or weeks of election that is IF (huge if!) there was Tory majority”.

Ms Kuenssberg added there had been no “final decision” and was currently “hypothetical” depending on what happens over the next couple of weeks.

Prime Minister Mr Johnson has repeatedly called on opposition parties to trigger a general election, but the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to back one before a no deal Brexit was categorically ruled out.

On Wednesday morning, reports claimed the Prime Minister is planning on summoning MPs to the House of Commons for an emergency Saturday sitting in Parliament on October 19 – just 24 hours after a crunch EU summit.

MP present said Johnson assured them they would not become a simple ‘no deal’ party

BBC News’ Laura Kuenssberg

Government sources told Reuters ministers are planning to call the Parliamentary session – regardless of whether Mr Johnson is able to secure a fresh agreement from EU counterparts.

The EU summit on October 17 and October 18 is the last scheduled meeting of EU leaders before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on October 31.

The proposed Parliamentary session is also the date in which the Prime Minister will be forced for another Brexit extension, under the Benn Act, if no deal has been approved by Parliament and a deal with the bloc has not been agreed either.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly said he will abide by the law but is also continuing to insist to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 – deal or no deal.

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On Tuesday, Brexit negotiations appeared to be on the brink of collapse on Tuesday following a phone conversation between the Prime Minister and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Following the conservation, Downing Street sources said the German Chancellor had made clear a deal was now “overwhelmingly unlikely”.

The claims provoked a furious response from outgoing European Council president Donald Tusk who accused the Prime Minister of jeopardising the future security of the EU and the UK.

Mr Tusk wrote: “Boris Johnson, 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?”

On Tuesday the Government also published a ‘no deal readiness’ report, with Prime Minister Mr Johnson declaring that he can “confidently” say the UK is prepared to leave the EU without a deal on October 31.

With the Brexit deadline just 22 days away, and the EU summit even closer, Brussels’ Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said it would be “very difficult but possible” to strike a deal before then.

Speaking in the chamber on Wednesday, European Parliament president David Sassoli said “not much progress” appears to have been made in exit talks.

The European Union’s two most powerful leaders, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron, are expected to meet just days before the crunch Brexit summit next week.

Prime Minister Mr Johnson has said he is still “cautiously optimistic” about securing an agreement.

But, on Wednesday afternoon, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, Mr Barnier, listed three reasons why the bloc could not accept Mr Johnson’s plans. 

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