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Johnson tells Macron: Don’t be lured into mistaken belief Brexit will be delayed

The Prime Minister spent the weekend talking to EU leaders including Emmanuel Macron and Portugal’s Antonio Costa.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with Boris Johnson at the G7 (Neil Hall/PA)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with Boris Johnson at the G7 (Neil Hall/PA)

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

Boris Johnson has told the French president the European Union should not be lured into the mistaken belief that Brexit will be delayed beyond October 31.

The Prime Minister spent the weekend talking to EU leaders including Emmanuel Macron and Portugal’s Antonio Costa, and is thought likely to travel to the continent later this week.

Downing Street warned Brussels it would be an “historic misunderstanding” to believe the so-called Benn Act could prevent a no-deal Brexit – despite being designed to do so.

A senior Number 10 source said if the European Commission did not show a willingness to compromise, the UK would leave without an agreement later this month.

The surrender act and its authors are undermining negotiations, but if EU leaders are betting that it will prevent no-deal, that would be a historic misunderstanding Number 10 source

During his call with Mr Macron on Sunday, the PM was said to have made clear that it was the final opportunity to secure a deal – but that the EU must match the compromises the UK has made.

Mr Johnson told his French counterpart that he wanted to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides – and that his new proposals commanded the support of parliamentarians, unlike Theresa May’s agreement, Number 10 said.

It is also understood that the Government will consider publishing the full legal text, which has so far only been shared confidentially with Brussels, if it is deemed helpful to progress the negotiations.

A senior Number 10 source said: “This is the chance to get a deal done: a deal that is backed by parliamentarians and a deal which involves compromise on all sides.

“The UK has made a big, important offer but it’s time for the Commission to show a willingness to compromise too. If not the UK will leave with no deal.

“The surrender act and its authors are undermining negotiations, but if EU leaders are betting that it will prevent no-deal, that would be a historic misunderstanding.”

PA

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