Sunday 25 August 2019 1:54 pm

Boris Johnson: Brexit deal is now 'touch and go'

Boris Johnson has said it is “touch and go” whether or not the UK will leave the EU with a deal.

Johnson has repeatedly insisted the UK will leave the bloc “come what may, do or die” on 31 October, raising fears of a no-deal Brexit.

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However, he previously stated that the chances of the UK leaving without an agreement were “a million to one”.

In an interview with the BBC at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, the Prime Minister said the chances of a deal “all depends on our EU friends and partners”.

“I think it’s going to be touch and go,” he said. “But the important thing is to get ready to come out without a deal.”

“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 added.

The Prime Minister also repeated his threat to keep hold of the £39bn divorce payment if the two sides were not able to strike a deal. He told the broadcaster that the UK would keep a “very substantial” sum of the £39bn laid down in the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May, which was rejected three times by parliament.

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The Prime Minister’s change in tone over the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit came after he clashed with the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, over where the blame would lie in a no-deal Brexit.

Tusk said he was sure Johnson would not want to go down in history as “Mr no deal”. The Prime Minister responded by saying a no-deal exit for the UK would reflect badly on the European side too.