Angela Merkel has said she still believes there is “every chance” of striking a Brexit deal before Halloween.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now pinning his hopes on the European Council summit, which starts on 17 October, as a way to avoid having to ask for another extension, after parliament bound his hands earlier this week.
While some have suggested that does not leave enough time for ratification, the German Chancellor today indicated that she had not written off a deal by 31 October.
“We still have every chance of getting an orderly (Brexit) and the German government will do everything it can to make that possible – right up to the last day. But I also say we are prepared for a disorderly Brexit,” Merkel told parliament.
“But the fact remains that after the withdrawal of Britain, we have an economic competitor at our door, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security cooperation and friendly relations,” she added.
Earlier this week MPs passed a law compelling Johnson to request a further extension to Brexit, until the end of January 2020, unless he can strike a deal, but the Prime Minister has said he will not request an extension.
Instead, it is thought he is veering towards something resembling the Northern Ireland-only backstop originally discussed between the EU and his predecessor Theresa May.
However that is likely to bring its own problems, not least with the DUP and ardent Brexiters.
One Tory MP told City A.M. yesterday the PM could live with upsetting Arlene Foster and the rest of his confidence and supply partners in light of the current parliamentary maths.
“The DUP only get you 10 MPs and the size of the problem is much bigger than that,” he said.
But one source close to a broad group of Eurosceptic Tories warned that he may face a rebellion.
“People will want to know – ok Boris, is this better than Theresa May’s deal? Or is it just May’s deal in lipstick? They haven’t fought for years to be fobbed off with a bit of light powder,” the source said.
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