Sammy Wilson: Brexiteers will not be to blame for no-deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) meets European Council president Donald Tusk for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) meets European Council president Donald Tusk for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France
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Remainers and EU negotiators will ultimately be to blame if the UK ends up leaving the European Union without a deal at the end of October, a DUP MP has warned.

Sammy Wilson made the remarks yesterday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the prospect of reaching a Brexit deal is “touch and go”.

Mr Johnson, who was using the G7 summit in Biarritz to hold talks with European Council president Donald Tusk, said he believed the chances of a deal were “improving” following a round of diplomacy which has also seen meetings with Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron.

But he refused to repeat his previous assertion that the odds of a no-deal outcome were “a million to one”.

“It all depends on our EU friends and partners, I think in the last few days there has been a dawning realisation in Brussels and other European capitals what the shape of the problem is for the UK,” he told the BBC.

Echoing the PM’s comments, DUP Brexit spokesperson Mr Wilson said the EU and Remainers in the UK would “have to bear the ultimate responsbility” in a no-deal scenario.

He told the News Letter: “The irony is that these two groups are the ones who are most against a no-deal, yet that is precisely what will happen if they continue doing what they are doing.”

Mr Johnson has pledged that the UK will leave the EU at the end of October “do or die” – even if it means walking away without a deal.

But Mr Wilson said the EU was “taking solace” from claims by some MPs that Parliament could potentially block a no-deal Brexit.

“That is why the EU are digging their heels in and refusing to negotiate,” he added.

Mr Johnson has faced a backlash over reports he had sought legal advice from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox about temporarily shutting down Parliament – known as prorogation – for five weeks from September 9.

The Observer reported that the move would allow for a Queen’s Speech, starting a new parliamentary session, on October 14.

Such a move would keep MPs away from the Commons until shortly before the European Council summit of EU leaders on October 17, potentially preventing moves to block a no-deal.

A government source added: “The claim that the government is considering proroguing parliament in September in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false.”

Meanwhile, in a series of broadcast interviews Mr Johnson confirmed that he would withhold the bulk of the £39 billion Brexit divorce bill if there is not a deal.

If there was a no-deal Brexit, he said he would “guarantee” that people would still be able to get medicine and “I think it’s highly unlikely that there will be food shortages of any kind”.

Before the summit, Mr Tusk urged Mr Johnson not to go down in history as “Mr No Deal”.

The prime minister told Sky: “The people who are going to be responsible for no deal are not in the UK, we don’t want no deal.”