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'We cannot change what we are': Michel Barnier stares down Tory threats | The Guardian |

At a meeting on Friday evening the prime minister's closest adviser, Dominic Cummings, was demanding that the EU stop being so stubborn and show flexibility. His message was that if Brussels did not budge in Brexit talks, Boris Johnson would not fold but would simply take the UK out without a deal.

"Next week we are going to know how things turn out," Cummings said. "If the EU says no then we are not going to do what the last lot did [he meant Theresa May] and change our negotiating position. If we don't get anything next week we are gone."

With just weeks to go before the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, there seems to be total deadlock - and the blame game has already begun.

Barnier was clear on Saturday that a no-deal outcome would be Johnson's responsibility, while the prime minister and Cummings have their strategy planned well in advance - to lay responsibility for that outcome and any turbulence it could cause firmly at the door of the EU.

Last week Johnson's government outlined its proposals for a Brexit deal which rests on Northern Ireland leaving the EU customs union on 31 October, but remaining in the single market for goods, and the Northern Ireland assembly being given the right to veto the arrangements every four years.

Barnier says the proposals are not acceptable in anything like their current form. "If they do not change I do not believe, on the basis of the mandate I have been given by the EU27, that we can advance."

The differences over customs and borders went to the very heart of what the EU was. "We are a single market. That's a complete ecosystem, with common rights, common norms, common standards, common rules, a common legal system. It requires checks at its borders."

Related reading ...

EU cancels weekend Brexit talks because Boris Johnson's plan `does not provide basis for agreement' | The Independent |
Johnson battles to get Brussels to engage with Brexit proposals | FT |
Scottish independence: Thousands march in support of Scottish independence | BBC News |

by Oui on Sat Oct 5th, 2019 at 08:07:50 PM EST

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