PMQs: Boris Johnson shuts down Blackford for Brexit ‘negativity’
The Prime Minister looked confident and business-like as he arrived at the Commission HQ for his showdown meeting. Mr Johnson will use the dinner to reiterate to his EU counterpart that Brussels must back down in trade negotiations.
While he jovially joked with Ms von der Leyen when she greeted him this evening, once talks on trade begin, the Prime Minister will warn the German he would rather opt for a no deal exit of the EU transition period than compromise on his red lines.
Mr Johnson was flanked by his chief negotiator David Frost and multiple other advisers as he arrived for dinner.
The Union Jack was raised outside the Commission building for the first time since the UK left the EU in January to welcome the Prime Minister to the Belgium capital.
It is Mr Johnson’s first visit to Brussels since becoming Prime Minister.
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He had been eager to avoid the missteps of his predecessor, Theresa May, who was summoned to the continent on several occasions during withdrawal negotiations only to return home having caved to the EU’s will.
But Mr Johnson has told his Brexiteer backbench MPs at home that he will not be cajoled into a deal once behind closed doors tonight.
He told the House of Commons this afternoon that while “a good deal” could still be done, he was ready to leave on World Trade Organisation terms at the end of the year.
The Conservative leader decried the EU’s list of demands as unacceptable, telling MPs: I do not believe that those are terms that any Prime Minister of this country should accept.”
Reiterating the point on social media while travelling to Brussels this evening, he said: “A good deal is still there to be done.
“But whether we agree trading arrangements resembling those of Australia or Canada, the United Kingdom will prosper mightily as an independent nation.”
Whether negotiations continue or not will be down to how Ms von der Leyen reacts to the Prime Minister’s ultimatum.
Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s press secretary said this afternoon: “The Prime Minister is going to be clear this evening that he can’t accept anything that undermines our ability to control our laws or to control our waters.
“He’s going to put that clearly to Ursula von der Leyen and see what her response is.”
More to follow…
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