Published On: Sat, Sep 7th, 2019

BBC News: John Humphrys orders Boris Johnson to ‘negotiate like mad’ with EU | UK | News

David Lidington, Theresa May’s former de facto deputy, was among those who supported the Prime Minister in the Commons this week, despite 21 rebels MPs voting to stop a no deal Brexit. Mr Lidington told BBC Radio 4 Mr Johnson convinced him he was “serious about getting a deal” and “understood the risks and the dangers of” no deal. During the interview, BBC Today Programme host John Humphrys asked Mr Lidington if he was “surprised” at the way the Prime Minister has been “behaving”.

The BBC presenter remarked: “You say ‘come back’, he hasn’t actually been anywhere has he?

“I mean when he should be, presumably, out there negotiating like mad because every second counts between now and October 31, he isn’t doing anything.

“Well he is, he went to what was supposed to be an election rally yesterday, turned out to be a rather bizarre event in the end didn’t it.

“But aren’t you a bit surprised at the way he’s been behaving?”

READ MORE: BBC’s Humphrys lashes out at Rebecca Long-Bailey on Labour ‘confusion’

The Tory MP for Aylesbury replied: “I would certainly hope that he will devote energy that he’s undoubtedly got to further talks with a wide range of European leaders.

“Because basically, I know we’ve got to persuade the Commission that whatever changes, I’m not party to the detail of this, it is within the Commission’s existing mandate from other EU countries or persuade those other EU leaders to vary the negotiating mandate they’ve given to the commissioners.

“He’s been to Paris and Berlin, I know he’s talked to a umber of other EU leaders but I think, you know, he needs to re-double the effort.

“That would be my advice to him, that the best way forward for the country and frankly to bring the Tory Party back together, which is desperately needed.”

Mr Johnson said last week he has no intention of seeking an extension and would rather “die in a ditch” than delay Brexit.

The Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying he was only bound “in theory” by the new legislation.

Meanwhile Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party, said opposition parties are “absolutely united” in opposing a general election until the “threat” of a no-deal Brexit is “eliminated”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she said: “We’ve not responded to the goads of the Prime Minister to try and call a general election now because we know that there is too much risk attached to that. We cannot risk a no-deal Brexit.”

She added: “I think the Prime Minister is very rattled by this, he’s faced by one of the most powerful things that can be, which is a group of unlikely allies getting together for the common good.”

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