Published On: Sun, Sep 1st, 2019

Brexit news: No deal eu exit likely under Boris Johnson says Michel Barnier | UK | News

Mr Barnier said the EU will discuss alternatives to the controversial Northern Ireland backstop, but only if Parliament passes Mrs May’s agreement. He also denied Brussels would be responsible for a no deal Brexit, and claimed “many people in the UK” would agree.

The comments are a hammer blow to Mr Johnson, who had hoped to renegotiate the deal to remove the Northern Ireland backstop.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron had given him 30 days to find “alternative arrangements” to the backstop.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph Mr Barnier commented: “I am not optimistic about avoiding a “no deal” scenario but we should all continue to work with determination.

“The EU is ready to explore all avenues that the UK government may present and that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement.

“Uncertainty has festered for far too long in the UK, in particular in Northern Ireland, as well as in Ireland and all other EU countries, for that matter.”

The Northern Ireland backstop in Mrs May’s deal was designed to prevent any hard Irish border.

There were fears this could violate the Good Friday Agreement, and that any border posts would become targets for dissident republican terrorism.

Under the agreement the UK would automatically fall into a customs union with the EU unless the two sides could agree an alternative arrangement during the transition period.

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Mr Barnier asserted: “The UK has now come to a moment of truth and it must decide if it leaves the EU with or without an agreement.

“The UK has now come to a moment of truth and it must decide if it leaves the EU with or without an agreement.

“If it chooses the latter, it means that there will be no transition period and no so-called “mini-deals”, as the EU will only act to protect its own interests.

“In case of “no-deal”, all the UK’s financial and other obligations from its past EU membership will continue to exist.”

On Saturday tens of thousands of marched across the UK to protest Mr Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament for a period before the October 31 Brexit date.

In London protestors chanting “you shut down the Parliament, we shut down the streets” briefly blocked Westminster Bridge as well as roads around Parliament Square.

Police made a number of arrests including Caroline Russell, a member of the London Assembly for the Green Party.

Protests also took place in a number of towns and cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bristol, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

Mr Barnier insisted the British Government will get the blame for any no deal EU exit.

He wrote: “The EU cannot prevent the UK from choosing a “no-deal’ scenario.

“I would fail to understand the logic of that choice though, as we would still need to solve the same problems after 31 October.

“Many people in the UK understand that and I would be surprised if they succumb to the idea that the EU is to blame for a difficult political situation in the UK.”

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