Boris Johnson accused of entering 'stupid blame game' over Brexit

Unacceptable’ North Ireland secretary Julian Smith leaves 10 Downing Street after today’s cabinet meeting

A Downing Street source was reported as saying that a Brexit deal is "essentially impossible" after the heated call between the prime minister and Ms Merkel.

"If that's the case, the explanation is actually in the British camp because the original sin is on the islands and not on the Continent".

Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann said Northern Ireland was on "brink of a no-deal disaster".

After the call, a No 10 source said Mrs Merkel had made clear a deal based on the prime minister's plans was "overwhelmingly unlikely" - though the BBC's Adam Fleming said there "scepticism" within the European Union that she would have used such language.

"There are some fundamental objectives that haven't changed for the past three years and we need them guaranteed", he told RTE news.

A source from Johnson's Downing Street office said Merkel spoke to the British leader this morning and she made clear that a deal was "overwhelmingly unlikely".

Mr Tusk, who has previously spoken of a "special place in hell" for those who promoted Brexit without a plan, took aim at Mr Johnson in an angry tweet yesterday.

Meanwhile, it has also emerged that Mr Johnson will travel to Dublin for make-or-break talks with Leo Varadkar aimed at rescuing a Brexit deal.

Tusk tweeted to Johnson: "what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game".

'I think it is going to be very hard to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly'.

'You don't want a deal, you don't want an extension, you don't want to revoke, quo vadis [where are you going]?'.

If he does not succeed, the Benn Act passed by opposition and rebel MPs last month will force him to ask for a further Brexit delay from Brussels.

Mr Sassoli later told the BBC's Newsnight programme: "Angela Merkel's opinions must be taken seriously".

"He [the prime minister] reiterated that if we did not reach an agreement then the United Kingdom will leave without a deal on 31 October".

A no 10 source said Mrs Merkel had told the Prime Minister that the United Kingdom could not leave the EU without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union with the EU.

"Because we understand that going out without an agreement leads to having a real problem, if not a real catastrophe".

"This government will not negotiate further so any delay would be totally pointless", the source was quoted as saying.

The source is quoted as saying that it will be made clear both privately and publicly that countries which oppose delay will "go the front of the queue for future co-operation - co-operation on things both within and outside European Union competences", adding: "Those who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue".

A Downing Street spokesman said: "Both sides strongly reiterated their desire to reach a Brexit deal. Supporting delay will be seen by this Government as hostile interference in domestic politics, and over half of the public will agree with us". The source also said that any European Union states that oppose a delay would be granted good cooperation.

"If the European Union doesn't do a deal shortly, then we leave without a deal", the source said.

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