Boris Johnson has nailed his colours firmly to the mast today, by saying that under his leadership the UK will be leaving the EU on the 31st of October.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
The favourite to win the Tory leadership contest, Boris Johnson, told Ross Kempsell on TalkRadio today that he would take the UK out of the EU on the 31st of October saying:
"We are getting ready to come out on the 31st of October." And adding: "Do or die. Come what may."
He also promised to keep preparing for a no deal Brexit just in case.
Talking about a withdrawal agreement, he said that making tweaks to the Theresa May agreement would not be enough as it was basically dead. He said that we would need a new withdrawal agreement, if we were going to go out on the basis of a withdrawal agreement.
What he said he would do about that, is disaggregate the elements of the current withdrawal agreement and use what he called the serviceable bits to form a new agreement.
And on the £39 billion so called Brexit divorce money he said: "…then we want to make sure that we keep that money suspended, and waiting to hand it over if we get the deal that we want." Not sure about that myself, there are plenty of people who would rather we kept it.
Boris also said we needed positive energy. "…frankly," he said "I've never seen such morosity and gloom from a government. For three years we've been sitting around wrapped in defeatism telling the British public that they can't do this or that. It is pathetic, it's absolutely pathetic."
Going on to say that the heart of the problem so far had been that we hadn't wanted to come out and that we had created our own prison with the backstop, customs union and single market all designed to trap us in.
And when asked if he would categorically rule out a further extension to the Article 50 process his simple answer was 'yes'.
Then when asked why he would make a better Prime Minister than his competitor, Jeremy Hunt, he said because he has three merits – I believe in Brexit, he said, had fought for Brexit and can deliver Brexit. Further, that he could 'formulate a great, one nation, modern conservative agenda and show how it can unite the whole country'.
And Boris Johnson has thrown down the gauntlet to Jeremy Hunt via a Tweeted letter asking Mr Hunt to confirm that he would join Boris in declaring that he would neither extend Article 50 beyond the 31st of October nor opt for a second EU referendum.
And he ended the letter with:
"In short, this is about whether the original people's vote will be respected. You are seeking to become Prime Minister, and people deserve to know where you stand."
But Jeremy Hunt, referring to the refusal by Boris to debate with him on Sky this evening, replied with:
"Hi Boris, it's good to talk. But no need for snail-mail, why not turn up to Sky tonight and I'll give you full and frank answers? #BoJoNoShow"
And on the EU27 side, while we keep hearing that they are not up for changing anything, the German ambassador to the UK, Peter Wittig, said that his country was ready to talk and that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, "…once said that she would be willing to talk to the last hour not to have a no-deal scenario".
"It's a mindset." He said, "We are not giving up in achieving an orderly Brexit. Germany has been a very pragmatic voice in this whole tortuous Brexit process and we will continue to be that.
"Even if we have a short window while the new prime minister is in place, we will welcome any idea how to solve that famous backstop issue and we will be willing to work towards a negotiated deal which is long term the only viable and sensible option for Europe."
But he did say that it is now the turn of the UK to come up with a plan and he added:
"Our mindset is to explore all pathways to come to a negotiated deal."
You have to wonder what happened to all the talk about it being the Withdrawal Agreement surrender treaty or nothing, don't you?
The EU27, or six of the more interested ones to be precise, are getting twitched over the possibility of a no deal Brexit.
France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands want to know what the PM of the Republic of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, is doing with regard to the Republic's land border with Northern Ireland to protect their precious single market in the eventuality of a WTO Brexit.
A diplomat with knowledge of the situation told the Telegraph that:
"We need to know exactly what is going to happen in Ireland on day one of a no-deal Brexit if the British do nothing to help."
This comes after the Irish Central Bank warning that a no deal Brexit could have "very severe and immediate disruptive effects" on the economy of the Republic and cost 100,000 jobs.
And the Express reports that: "Mr Varadkar last week admitted Dublin would be forced to implement a hard border in order to protect the EU if the UK crashed out of the bloc without an agreement."
Or maybe the more likely outcome would be a border between the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU – now that would be a bit of a twist, wouldn't it?
Also, if I recall rightly, up until now it's all been about the EU and the UK, but as a no deal looks more likely the Republic of Ireland suddenly appears vulnerable with the others distancing themselves and indicating that it is a problem for Ireland itself to solve.
All I can say is, that this is the no deal Brexit pressure that should have been applied from day one.
If I become PM, we will leave the EU on 31st October, deal or no deal. Today I have asked @Jeremy_Hunt whether he will also commit to this date, no matter what. We must keep our promises to the British people and deliver Brexit – no ifs, no buts, and no second referendum. pic.twitter.com/YgRSfESSFY
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) June 25, 2019
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) June 25, 2019