Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2019

Verhofstadt warns Boris’ plan risks jeopardising future trade talks | UK | News

The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator lashed out at Mr Johnson’s “sinister” strategy to deliver Brexit by October 31. The Belgian MEP warned that it would “unlikely help to deliver a stable” future trade and security relationship. He also welcomed the work of Remainer MPs fighting to stop the Prime Minister from shutting down Parliament in the days before Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Verhofstadt said: “‘Taking back control’ has never looked so sinister.

“As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity with those fighting for their voices to be heard.

“Suppressing debate on profound choices is unlikely to help deliver a stable future EU-UK relationship.”

EU sources fear that Mr Johnson’s “very divisive” approach to Brexit doesn’t bode well for the next phase of negotiations.

“Forcing through an extreme outcome is unlikely to produce a long lasting, stable partnership,” one said.

Others in Brussels fear that by infuriating MPs in Westminster, Mr Johnson will not be able to convince a majority to follow his vision for a post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

The Prime Minister’s morning manoeuvres has left senior EU figures fearing that a no-deal Brexit is once again the most likely outcome.

Nathalie Loiseau, a French MEP and close ally of Emmanuel Macron, said: “We could see a Brexit coming without agreement.

MUST READ: Brexit just got real: Boris’ Brexit proroguing plan leaves EU in fear

Other Brussels sources beleive that Mr Johnson is playing a game of “political poker” and has actually reduced the pressure on him to deliver substantial changes to the withdrawal agreement.

One said: “It does look like a massive poker move. If the game is to limit the options of MPs so that they have to accept any deal, then maybe that reduces the pressure on Johnson to get substantial changes to the deal, and a narrow pathway could be found with cosmetic changes.” 

Meanwhile John Bercow accused Mr Johnson of “constitutional outrage” after it emerged the Prime Minister has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament.

The Commons Speaker warned that Mr Johnson’s decision risks abandoning democracy.

He said: “However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now would be to stop parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country.

“At this time, one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s history, it is vital that our elected parliament has its say. After all, we live in a parliamentary democracy.

“Shutting down parliament would be an offence against the democratic process and the rights of parliamentarians as the people’s elected representatives. Surely at this early stage in his premiership, the prime minister should be seeking to establish rather than undermine his democratic credentials and indeed his commitment to parliamentary democracy.”

Remainer MPs also voiced their anger as their window to block a no-deal Brexit appears to have shrunk.

Tory MP Dominic Grieve said: “I don’t see how a Prime Minister who persists with this is going to find he is going to get to the October 31 still in office.

“There will be a vote of no confidence and his government will come down.”

He added: “I will certainly bring down a Conservative Government if the Prime Minister persists in following a course of action that is so unconstitutional.”

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