Brexit LIVE: Varoufakis claims Boris’ Brexit move has worked – caused no-deal panic in EU


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Meanwhile Bori Johnson has said the EU will attempt to « carve up the UK » if rebel MPs block his controversial Internal Market Bill in a stark warning as Brexit tensions reach fever-pitch. Yanis Varoufakis, asked on BBC Radio 4 as the row over Mr Johnson’s Internal Market Bill rumbles on, whether a deal would happen, said: « It is highly possible, but whether it’s likely I’m not sure. « The one good thing that came about from the provocation from London regarding Article 4 of the Protocol – the challenging of the  Withdrawal Agreement – is that minds have been focused on the continent on the serious possibility of a no-deal, and that increases the possibility of a deal, however paradoxical that may seem. »

At roughly the same time, Mr Varoufakis also tweeted about bloc-wide changes to the rules to enable countries to offer financial support to companies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: « This relaxation is going to be permanent and will extend well beyond financing airlines et al. 

« Mergers are already underway that violate EU competition policy (ask Ms Vestager) [the European Commissioner in charge of competition].

« The state aid and competition rule book that Barnier is pushing on the UK has been shred to pieces. »

Mr Johnson insists the legislation – which will override parts of the Withdrawal agreement he signed last year – is required to end EU threats to install a « blockade » in the Irish Sea.

The move has caused considerable disquiet in Westminster, not least among his own backbenchers, with Bob Neill, MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, putting forward an amendment which would effectively veto the Bill.

The Prime Minister said failure to implement the Bill would allow Brussels to « carve up our country » and « seriously endanger peace and stability » in Northern Ireland.

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Johnson claimed the block would to impose « a full-scale trade border down the Irish sea » which could stop the transport of food from Britain to Northern Ireland.

He added: « I have to say that we never seriously believed that the EU would be willing to use a treaty, negotiated in good faith, to blockade one part of the UK, to cut it off.

« Or that they would actually threaten to destroy the economic and territorial integrity of the UK. »

READ MORE: Varoufakis accuses EU of imposing rules on UK that even Germany and France ignore

Negotiators led by David Frost had learned there « may be a serious misunderstanding about the terms » of the deal Mr Johnson signed in October.

Mr Johnson claimed the Withdrawal Agreement had been agreed during « torrid » days with the Brexit deadline fast approaching while « negotiating with one hand tied behind our back » as a result of Parliament blocking a no-deal.

He added: « If we fail to pass this Bill, or if we weaken its protections, then we will in fact reduce the chances of getting that Canada-style deal. »

11.55am update: ‘Keep your meddling EU nose out!’ Guy Verhofstadt mocked over Brexit rant blaming Boris

The Belgian MEP, who is a vocal critic of Brexit, took to Twitter to hit out at Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit plans. He accused the UK Prime Minister of pushing for a hard Brexit and threatening the country’s integrity.

Mr Verhofstadt made the comments after sharing the newspaper headline, Johnson: EU a threat to integrity of the UK.

Jamie Bryson, a Northern Ireland unionist activist, wrote: « You actually believe you have a right to comment upon our sovereign country.

« We are leaving, as one UK, and if you & other EU leaders don’t like that…. well all the better. »

Influential Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has said he will not be able to back Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill as it stands.

Defence Select Committee chairman Mr Ellwood, who backed Remain four years ago, tweeted: « Unamended I cannot support this Bill.

Already this Bill is damaging brand UK, diminishing our role-model status as defender of global standards.

10.42am update: ‘Bare knuckle fight with the EU!’ Gloves are off in Brexit showdown, warns Brexiteer MP

Brexit is now a brutal « bare-knuckle fight » with Brussels – and one which Boris Johnson must win at all costs, a Tory MP has warned.

Mr Johnson today warned any attempt to block his Internal Market Bill in the House of Commons would enable to EU to « carve up » the United Kingdom in a clear indication of the seriousness with which he views the situation.

And Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, likewise stressed the stakes could not be higher, employing his colourful metaphor as he compared the situation to Fight Club.

Mr Kawczynski was not in the UK yesterday as he was about to catch a flight back from Poland, the country where he was born, and where he had been on a fact-finding mission during which he met numerous officials and discussed the Brexit situation with them.

« We are now in a bare knuckle fight – we’ve all seen that film with Brad Pitt.

10.12am update: Boris Johnson urged to target Australia for UK’s next Brexit trade deal as EU talks waiver

Boris Johnson has been urged to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with Australia after the UK signed a historic agreement with Japan on Friday.

Britain secured its first major Brexit deal on Friday, after it reached an agreement with Japan.

In response, asked its readers which country Boris Johnson should try to target next, as talks with the EU near breaking point.

The poll, carried out from 3pm on September 11 to 8am on September 12, asked: “Which country should Boris target for Britain’s next trade deal?”

The 2,603 voters could choose from Australia, USA, Canada, India, South Korea, New Zealand and other.

10.04am update: Tory MPs’ new Whatsapp group is called  » “What the f*** is going on?”.

Tory MPs have launched a new Whatsapp group simply entitled, “What the f*** is going on?” at the end of a week of chaos and confusion in Westminster in the midst of Brexit talks and fresh coronavirus restrictions.

Times deputy political editor Steve Swinford shared a link to his article via Twitter, commenting: « One cabinet minister says rule of six is ‘illogical’ and ‘unreasonable’.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit representative, has lashed out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson, claiming he, not the Northern Ireland Protocol, represents the real threat to the United Kingdom.

Former Belgian PM Mr Verhofstadt, famous for his anti-Brexit diatribes, tweeted: « The real threats to the integrity of the UK are you Boris Johnson and your Brexit!

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has insisted the Government is acting « within the rule of law » despite the Northern Ireland Secretary admitting the Brexit Bill would breach international law.

He told Sky News: « The legal position was made clear by the Attorney General: We are operating within the rule of law.

Stuart Wallace , head of of Falkland Islands fisheries company Fortuna Ltd has told a meeting of the British overseas territory’s Fisheries Committee last week he was “disappointed” with the level of engagement about Brexit between the Falklands Island Government and the fishing industry.

Mr Wallace said Brexit was the « the elephant in the room », calling for an urgent meeting to discuss the issue as soon as possible.

Fisheries Committee chair MLA Teslyn Barkman explained she had been in touch with FIG Representative Richard Hyslop and would see if he was available for a meeting.

When pressed if the dispute over the Internal Market Bill had undermined the UK’s reputation, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: « I don’t think so. »

He told Times Radio: « I think people recognise that in a negotiation like the one that we’re having as we leave the European Union, there are inevitably changes in the way in which we interact with our neighbours.

« But our adherence to the rule of law is clear and that’s why the Attorney General issued a statement earlier this week outlining the way in which all our actions were entirely consistent with the rule of law. »

8.41am update: EU will cave to UK’s trade demands as Brussels faces no deal panic, says Widdecombe

Brexiteer Ann Widdecombe predicted a significant back-down from the EU in the trade talks on two significant issues.

Former Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe argued the EU would likely cave to the UK’s demands in the final weeks and months of the transition period.

During an interview with, Ms Widdecombe argued the EU will give in on fishing demands and the level playing field.

She noted that the EU is now feeling nervous about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and will hope to achieve a trade deal with the UK.

Michael Gove also said he believed the Government has the support of Tory MPs to pass the Internal Market Bill.

He told BBC Breakfast: « I think we have got the support of our own MPs and MPs in other parties as well.

Brexit Britain will engage in « conflict » with EU member states in a bid to protect UK waters once the country has fully cut ties with the European Union at the end of the year, an expert has claimed.

Dr Niall McCrae, from the think tank the Bruges Group’s, argued that British fishermen could expert clashes with EU member states over access to UK fishing waters.

During an interview with, Dr McCrae said clashes could occur if a satisfying post-Brexit trade deal – including elements on fishing – isn’t agreed between the two sides.

He noted UK fishermen may have to defend themselves from French and Spanish boats, and even Irish vessels.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove warned the EU could put « at threat the integrity » of the UK without the controversial Brexit legislation.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told BBC Breakfast: « We’re doing our part – generously – to help protect the EU’s own single market but we’re clear that what we can’t have even as we’re doing all that is the EU disrupting and putting at threat the integrity of the United Kingdom.

« These steps are a safety net, they’re a long-stop in the event, which I don’t believe will come about but we do need to be ready for, that the EU follow through on what some have said they might do which is in effect to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. »

Boris Johnson’s allegation that the EU is trying to break up the UK is « ridiculous », a Spanish MEP has said as he warned negotiations should be halted if a controversial Brexit Bill is passed.

Luis Garicano told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: « I think it’s pretty ridiculous. I think Mr Johnson insists on having his cake and eating it. »

He said Mr Johnson « agreed to border checks in the Irish Sea » when signing the Withdrawal Agreement.

The MEP added: « Let’s assume the Prime Minister is bluffing. I think if this Bill is passed then everything is off. »

Boris Johnson has been issued a warning by an expert over Britain’s historic free trade agreement with Japan brokered by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

Talks between the two sides hit a breakthrough on Friday as the UK announced its first landmark free trade agreement with the state.

Speaking to prior to the agreement, head of Asian Studies at Edinburgh University, professor Aaron William Moore claimed Japan will take a more keen interest in the European economy than the UK’s.

7.48am update: Boris’ bombshell Brexit threat sparks ‘outbreak of reality’ in EU – new dynamic for deal

Boris Johnson believes his threat to break international law has injected a new dynamic into the bitter wrangling with the European Union over a Brexit trade deal.

British officials feel Downing Street’s bombshell legislation led to an “outbreak of reality” across EU capitals, which could usher in a drastic shift to the bloc’s refusal to budge on key issues.

No 10 hopes a move to hand ministers powers to overwrite key elements of the Northern Ireland border plan agreed as part of last year’s Withdrawal Agreement has forced EU leaders to finally concede « what is at stake ».

Relations with the EU were left in tatters after the publication of the Internal Market Bill earlier this week sparked allegations Britain could not trusted enough to continue trade talks.

Tory MP and committed Brexiteer John Redwood has taken a swipe at the EU on Twitter, accusing them of calling Boris Johnson a liar.

Mr Redwood, a member of the European Research Group (ERG) wrote: « The EU is now saying they will continue the trade talks with the UK because they think the PM is bluffing over the new legislation.

« Not a good start to say he is not telling the truth about the UK’s plans. »

7.33am update: Brexit trade BONANZA! Britain on track for £100BN deals outside EU – 4 more deals on way

Boris Johnson says Britain will prosper outside the EU thanks to a £100 billion post-Brexit trading bonanza.

The Prime Minister said bumper trade deals are being lined up with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada that will boost British firms and create tens of thousands of new jobs.

It comes after the UK secured a “historic” first trade deal since quitting the European Union following an agreement with Japan.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, the architect of the massive £15 billion tie up, said it is “just the beginning” for Britain’s trading renaissance.

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