Economy

Britain tells European Union: compromise on Brexit or we'll get nasty - Spectator source

Britain tells European Union: compromise on Brexit or we'll get nasty - Spectator source

The Spectator magazine quoted an unidentified source in Downing Street as saying that Britain would take an aggressive stance towards the European Union if Brexit talks break down, possibly even by withholding security cooperation.

The need to keep Northern Ireland in the European customs union - at least until the United Kingdom finds another suitable way to control goods flowing across the Irish border without the need for additional checks - has been the EU's position since the start of the Brexit negotiations.

Downing St. said that "if this represents a new established position, then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever".

Another German MP, Franziska Brantner, simply said: 'Take that!'.

European Council president Donald Tusk hit back at Number 10, accusing Mr Johnson of engaging in a "stupid blame game".

"At stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom as well as the security and interests of our people". But, under English law, he also is required to seek an extension if he doesn't have a deal by October 19 - something that may still force him to seek a delay and hold a general election before going back to Brussels again.

The talks hit a roadblock Tuesday when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"What's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game", Tusk wrote in a tweet directed at the prime minister.

Against the euro, the pound was down 0.3 per cent at 89.55 pence, the lowest since 13 September.

An array of remarks by unidentified British sources laid bare just how far apart the two sides are after three years of tortuous haggling over the first departure of a sovereign state from the EU.

On Tuesday, Britain published more details of its plans for a scenario where there is no deal.

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The Downing Street source said that if Merkel's position on Northern Ireland remaining in the EU's customs union was the bloc's position, then a deal was impossible.

After the call, Arlene Foster, leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which supports Johnson's Brexit stance, said accepting the EU's position would amount to "surrender".

Now that's entirely unacceptable to Downing Street, and they have been briefing that, effectively, it is dead - they're saying that there is no chance, if this is the EU's view, not only of a deal now, but of a deal ever.

However, the Prime Minister has said repeatedly that he will find a way around the law and won't seek an extension.

Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union appeared to be on the verge of collapse on Tuesday, with Brussels accusing London of intransigence and threatening the bloc's future.

UK ELECTION The opposition Labour Party said Johnson was trying to apportion blame ahead of a no-deal Brexit. The biggest hurdle to a deal remains the post-Brexit border arrangements between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

Johnson has consistently said the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal, though a law passed by parliament demands he write a letter to the European Union asking for a delay if he can not strike an exit deal by October 19.

Scotland's top civil court was expected to rule Tuesday whether it could force someone else - possibly a judge - to sign the extension request if Johnson does not.

Johnson's opponents in Britain accused the government of deliberately undermining the Brexit talks.

The source also warned that negotiations with Brussels could collapse this week and blamed Irish premier Leo Varadkar for refusing to engage.

Talks are ongoing between the United Kingdom and EU's negotiating teams ahead of the summit on 17 and 18 October, but the political tensions have been ramped up in recent days.