BoJo's Brexit showdown: British PM to summon lawmakers for special Saturday sitting


Nor does it matter that any serious analysis of Johnson's "two borders for four years" proposals (with a regulatory border in the Irish Sea and a customs border on the Irish mainland) would immediately identify its impossibilities.

Three Scottish judges are expected to rule on a court case brought by campaigners who want an order forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask the European Union for a delay if no Brexit deal is reached by 19 October.

Johnson's office gave a gloomy assessment after a call between Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday morning.

An unnamed cabinet minister cited by the newspaper said that a "very large number" of Conservative members of parliament will quit if it comes to a no-deal Brexit. Mr Johnson's official spokesman also declined to say anything about the substance of the call.

Johnson's official spokesman told reporters the pair had a "frank exchange" and that discussions were at a "critical point".

"What's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game", Tusk wrote in a tweet directed at the prime minister.

However, Tusk tweeted that Britain was playing with "the future of Europe and the UK" with no clear plan of what the country wanted.

The Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, said a deal was still possible but "not any at cost", while prime minister Leo Varadkar told the Irish broadcaster RTE that "big gaps" remain between the two sides; Varadkar will meet Johnson later this week.

The UK and Irish leaders spoke on the phone for 40 minutes on Tuesday, after which No 10 said both sides "strongly reiterated" their desire to reach a deal.

Brexit talks are now reaching a critical moment, a British spokesman said in Brussels where Johnson's Brexit negotiator David Frost was in meetings with European Union officials.

James Slack, a United Kingdom government spokesman, described the conversation between Johnson and Merkel as a "frank exchange" and denied Tusk's characterization.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank meanwhile warned that "even a relatively benign no-deal Brexit" would see Britain's debt burden surge to 50-year highs.

The pound started the day under pressure, down 0.1% against the euro and flat against the dollar at a one-month low.

"In a statement published after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, David Sassoli explained that" there has been no progress" towards finding a bargain that would guarantee an orderly departure of the United Kingdom in the bloc.

Johnson, who took over as PM from Theresa May in July, has been accused of political manoeuvring before calling a snap general election to strengthen his position in parliament.

Lawmakers will return on Monday for the State Opening of Parliament, which includes a speech delivered by Queen Elizabeth II outlining the government's legislative plans.

Johnson's idea is pinned on the UK's suggestion to have two borders around Northern Ireland - turning the existing (invisible) border with the Republic of Ireland, an European Union member, into a formal customs border (albeit with physical checks and infrastructure some distance from the border itself), with a regulatory border in the Irish Sea, allowing Northern Ireland to remain in the EU's "single market".

The big point here is, that Boris Johnson flat out doesn't want to delay any further, and with his recent hard-line tactics with the European Union, I don't think that an extension to the deadline would have any benefit. "It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday agreement".