Downing Street has accused Brussels of making it “impossible” for Britain to leave the European Union with a deal.
Following a call between Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel, a Number 10 source said the German chancellor had made it clear that the EU had taken a “new position” following the tabling of the latest UK plan last week.
“She made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the customs union,” the source, quoted by Sky News, said.
Merkel is said to have told the prime minister that the north of Ireland is the UK’s “special problem” and that the Irish Republic must at least have a veto on it leaving the customs union.
“It was a very useful clarifying moment in all sorts of ways,” the source said. “If this represents a new established position, then it means a deal is essentially impossible, not just now but ever.
“It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday Agreement.”
For Labour, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said the comments represented a “cynical attempt” by Number 10 to “sabotage” the negotiations.
“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,” he said.
Fund our Investigations Unit
You can help us investigate corruption, expose injustice and uncover the truth.
As one of the only independent investigations units in the country, we work for you – but we need your help to keep going. We need to raise £10,000 to continue our groundbreaking investigations. Can you chip in?