Boris Johnson apparently did not have a fruitful conversation with German chancellor, Angela Merkel, triggering an angry response from Brussels that he is trying to play a “stupid blame game” over the near-collapse of talks.
There was a spat after Johnson and Merkel spoke Tuesday morning, with a No 10 source briefing saying that the chancellor’s demands for Northern Ireland to remain in a customs union made a deal look “essentially impossible not just now, but ever”.
Donald Tusk, the European council president, tweeted directly at Johnson: “What’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game. At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people. You don’t want a deal, you don’t want an extension, you don’t want to revoke, quo vadis? [Where are you going?]”
Downing Street officially insists that the government is still focused on getting a deal with the EU, with preliminary talks ongoing about Johnson’s new Brexit proposals. However, an anonymous No 10 source briefed broadcast journalists, saying Merkel “made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the customs union”.