Johnson accuses EU of making it impossible to leave with a deal

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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.

Germany The Netherlands
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to have made clear that a Brexit deal is ‘overwhelmingly unlikely'(Michael Sohn/AP)

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.

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“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.

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