Update 2: A spokesman from No. 10 has denied reports that talks with the EU are on the verge of collapse.
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Update: Following reports about Boris Johnson's latest utterance, EU Council President Donald Tusk sent a harshly worded tweet accusing Johnson of treating the negotiations "like a game."
.@BorisJohnson, what’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game. At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people. You don’t want a deal, you don’t want an extension, you don’t want to revoke, quo vadis?— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 8, 2019
According to Reuters, "such abrupt remarks indicate the Brexit blame game has begun in earnest"...and that both sides are preparing for a chaotic Brexit, and hoping to blame the other side for causing it.
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Sorry, Goldman. But it's truly starting to look like a new Brexit deal between the UK and Brussels might be out of reach.
According to Bloomberg and several local media reports, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a "very difficult" call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday morning.
Merkel reportedly insisted that the EU27 would never agree to a Brexit deal that didn't include a backstop arrangement that would keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.
Johnson told German Chancellor Angela Merkel a Brexit deal is essentially impossible if the EU demands Northern Ireland should stay in the bloc’s customs union. An irritated Johnson reportedly replied that if this was non-negotiable, then a deal would be "effectively impossible." Around this time, a senior official in Johnson's government texted reporters to let them know that his government was preparing for talks to collapse.
According to the BBC, phrases like "overwhelmingly unlikely" were also thrown around.
MPs will publish updated no-deal Brexit planning documents later on Tuesday, as talks teeter on the brink of collapse.
Johnson is hoping that he will be able to hammer out a final deal during an upcoming EU Council meeting on Oct. 17 and 18.
With the odds of a no-deal exit at the end of this month on the rise, the pound tumbled 0.5%.
Labour was, unsurprisingly, quick to criticize Johnson, denouncing the remark as a "cynical attempt to sabotage the negotiations." Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Johnson "will never take responsibility for his own failure to put forward a credible deal," and called on Parliament to "unite to prevent this reckless government crashing us out of the EU."
Little progress has been made in the days since Johnson unveiled his alternative Brexit plan, which focused on replacing the so-called backstop, the policy negotiated by Theresa May and the EU to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland, which has long been a sticking point.
After the call with Merkel, a No. 10 source accused the EU of being "willing to torpedo the Good Friday agreement" by rejecting Johnson's plan.
Meanwhile, the UK revamped the tariffs it plans to levy on Eu goods after a no-deal Brexit following warnings that an earlier plan risked making domestic producers uncompetitive.
Germany confirmed that a call between Johnson and Merkel did take place, but they're refusing to confirm any details from the call.