No 10 Source: No Deal a Certainty Either Now or After Election

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the first meeting of the National Policing Board at the Home Office on July 31, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images

A Number 10 source has said that even if there is a delay or a general election, there will be a no-deal, clean-break Brexit.

The source told The Spectator in a statement — believed to have been written by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings — that negotiations with the EU are going to collapse this week.

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Johnson sent an alternative deal to EU leaders which removes the Irish backstop. The Downing Street insider said that Ireland and Germany are most likely to block the deal. He added: “Those who think [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel will help us are deluded.”

Just this morning, a Downing Street source said the German chancellor had indicated that a Brexit deal is “overwhelmingly unlikely”. They said the message was that the UK could not come out of the EU “without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union and in full alignment forever”.

The Spectator source said that Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, “wants to gamble on a second referendum” and is “encouraging Barnier to stick to the line that the UK cannot leave the EU without leaving Northern Ireland behind”.

“If this deal dies in the next few days, then it won’t be revived,” the source stated. He also explained that Number 10 is taking legal advice on getting around the Benn Act which forces the prime minister to ask for a Brexit extension to stop a clean break.

An extension of Article 50 can only be approved unanimously by the EU-27, and the source made clear that supporting a delay would be viewed as “hostile interference in domestic politics”. Those countries that reject an extension “will go the front of the queue for future cooperation” post-Brexit, while those “who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue”.

However, the high-level source could not rule out that there would be an extension to Article 50 to January 31st, 2020, but said that such a delay would be “totally pointless”.

“They think now that if there is another delay we will keep coming back with new proposals. This won’t happen. We’ll either leave with no deal on 31 October or there will be an election and then we will leave with no deal,” they said.

“Any delay will in effect be negotiated between you, Parliament, and the courts — we will wash our hands of it, we won’t engage in further talks,” he said.

“We will focus on winning the election on a manifesto of immediately revoking the entire EU legal order without further talks, and then we will leave,” the source said, adding that anti-Brexit campaigners and Remainer MPs will only succeed in “uniting the leave vote” and helping the Tories win the election, leading to “a no-deal Brexit. History is full of such ironies and tragedies.”

While he predicts that the Remainers’ sabotage will only work to galvanise Leavers, a ComRes survey for The Telegraph revealed that the public would blame Parliament, Remainer MPs, and Brussels more than the prime minister if there is another Brexit delay.

Recent polling from Opinium for the Observer gave the Conservatives a 15-point lead over Labour. The Tories gained two points, taking them to 38 per cent, since party conference season, while the Remain-backing Labour is on 23 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 15 per cent.

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