Johnson acknowledges he is in big Brexit mess
Boris Johnson it seems is about to be hit by a big Brexit blunderbus, or slope off with his tail between his legs as crunch talks with Brussels dominate his agenda this week.
Having finally played his cards regarding his new Brexit deal last week, while it has finally appeased Tory allies, the DUP, it seems to have been as impactful on the rest of Europe as a whistle in a hurricane.
Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, and the one most impacted by Johnson’s new suggestions for the Irish border, deems the PM’s solutions as ineffective and he is matched by the same noises from other European leaders.
Although Johnson’s rhetoric is once again familiarly bullish, telling French President Emmanuel Macron that this is “the final opportunity” for a deal to be struck, according to the Finnish Prime Minister, Antti Rinne, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, Boris is in “a big mess”.
All of the players on the continent appear to concur that agreeing a deal before Halloween is, “a long shot”, which leaves the British PM with his back against the wall.
There is absolutely no doubt, that as the Brussels summit of October 17 edges ever closer it seems inevitable that without some movement from either side, a request for an extension is the only way out.
Of course, this goes against every strategy that Johnson has applied thus far and would truly see him with egg on his face.
Downing Street is remaining silent on any negotiations this week, but it is believed that there are a lot of frantic phone calls with other EU leaders to get this deal done.
Johnson is currently prohibited from leaving Europe with no deal via the Hilary Benn Act, and is obliged by law to ask for an extension, and this is where Boris’ mess gets even messier.
While Brussels is certainly expecting such a request, and even Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox, has pledged to resign if he doesn’t ask for one, Johnson has insisted since entering Downing Street that this is the one thing he would never do. In fact he would rather, “die in a ditch”, than surrender his position.
Brussels has set this Friday as the deadline for any proposals by the UK to be submitted and given the cold reception to his current proposals for the Irish border, some new and workable solutions for that particular dilemma need to be sought.
Unfortunately for Boris, it is clear that EU leaders will support Leo Varadkar above him, after all Varadkar does belong to their club, why on earth would they support the outsider?
The political week may begin quietly but it looks like there will a firework display by Friday.