EU and MPs collaborating to block Brexit, claims Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has accused MPs and the EU of collaborating to block Brexit, as he warned of the increasing risk of leaving without a deal.

The Prime Minister claimed Brussels is "not moving in their willingness to compromise" and warned a no-deal Brexit becomes more likely the longer this goes on.

He urged the UK's "European friends to compromise" but said their position is likely to harden the more they believe Westminster can block Brexit.

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Boris Johnson becomes PM
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson's partner Carrie Symonds waits for him to make a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Protesters outside 10 Downing Street, London, awaiting the arrival of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Newly Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Buckingham Palace in London, following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Buckingham Palace in London, following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson, center, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be formally invited to become Prime Minister, Wednesday July 24, 2019. Boris Johnson will replace May as Prime Minister later Wednesday, following her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the Brexit withdrawal agreement she struck with the European Union. (Yui Mok/pool via AP)
LONDON — Boris Johnson was due to enter 10 Downing St. as Britain's new prime minister on Wednesday, vowing to lead the U.K. out of the European Union and unite a country deeply divided over Brexit.It's a tall order. Johnson has just 99 days to make good on his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31, "come what may."The former mayor of London and foreign secretary is getting Britain's top job in politics after winning a contest to lead the governing Conservative Party.Famed for his bravado, quips in Latin and blond mop of hair, Johnson easily defeated Conservative rival Jeremy Hunt, winning two-thirds of the votes of about 160,000 party members across the U.K.He replaces Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc, leaving Britain stranded in Brexit limbo as the U.K.'s departure from the EU was delayed past its long-scheduled March exit date.Johnson was taking office in a day of carefully choreographed political drama that began with May attending the weekly Prime Minister's Questions period in the House of Commons for the last time.The usually boisterous session was subdued, with Conservative colleagues praising May's sense of duty and opposition leaders offering best wishes, while aiming their fire at her replacement. May just shook her head when Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn asked if she would help him stop "the reckless plans of her successor," who has vowed to leave the EU if necessary without a Brexit divorce deal.May offered Johnson slightly muted praise, saying she was pleased to hand over to a Conservative committed to "delivering on the vote of the British people in 2016 and to delivering a bright future for this country."And she fired back at Corbyn: "As a party leader who has accepted when her time was up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same?"As she left the Commons chamber, May was given a standing ovation by Conservative lawmakers, many of whom helped bring her down by rejecting her Brexit deal.After saying goodbye to Downing Street staff, May stood outside the prime minister's residence and spoke publicly for the last time as Britain's leader.With husband, Philip, by her side, May said it had been "the greatest honour" to serve as prime minister.Reminding her successor of the risks posed by a disruptive Brexit, May said the new government's priority must be "to complete our exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom."May and her husband then travelled by ministerial Jaguar the mile (1.6 kilometres) to Buckingham Palace to advise Queen Elizabeth II to ask Johnson to form a new government. The palace confirmed in a statement that the 93-year-old monarch had accepted May's resignation.May left the palace after a half-hour. Moments later, Johnson's car swept through the gates of the royal residence. He will be the 14th prime minister of the queen's 67-year reign.There was a brief hiccup in the smooth handover when environmental protesters blocked Johnson's car by forming a human chain across the road outside the palace. They were quickly bundled aside by his police escort.Greenpeace said its activists had tried to hand Johnson a letter calling for strong action against climate change.Later, Johnson is to give a speech outside 10 Downing St., giving Britons a glimpse at his priorities and policy plans.Then the real battle starts.Johnson has vowed that Britain will leave the EU on the currently scheduled date of Oct. 31, with or without a deal on departure terms. Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession, and the EU is adamant that the deal it made with May will not be renegotiated.Chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said "we are ready to listen and to work with" Johnson, but did not budge on the bloc's refusal to alter the deal."A no-deal Brexit will never be, never, the choice of the EU. But we are prepared," he said in Brussels.Johnson, whose personal brand is built on optimism — and, critics say, an ambiguous relationship with facts — promised Tuesday to deliver Brexit "in a new spirit of can do.""I say to all the doubters: 'Dude, we are going to energize the country, we are going to get Brexit done,'" he said.To succeed, Johnson must win over the many Britons opposed to Brexit and resistant to his blustering charms.In a sign he hopes to move beyond the largely white, male and affluent Conservative members who chose him as their leader, Johnson's office said his government would be a "Cabinet for modern Britain" with more women and a record number of ministers from ethnic minorities.His administration is also set to include some pro-EU politicians, but many members will be strong Brexit supporters like Johnson. One of his senior advisers is set to be Dominic Cummings, lead strategist for the "Vote Leave" campaign in the 2016 EU membership referendum.A contentious figure, Cummings was found to be in contempt of Parliament earlier this year for refusing to give evidence to a committee of lawmakers investigating "fake news."Several senior members of May's government who oppose a no-deal Brexit resigned Wednesday before they could be fired by Johnson. Treasury chief Philip Hammond, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Justice Secretary David Gauke all quit, along with David Lidington, who was May's deputy prime minister."Given Boris's stated policy of leaving the EU by October 31 at all costs, I am not willing to serve in his government," Gauke said in his resignation letter.___Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/BrexitJill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson, center, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be formally invited to become Prime Minister, Wednesday July 24, 2019. Boris Johnson will replace May as Prime Minister later Wednesday, following her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the Brexit withdrawal agreement she struck with the European Union. (Yui Mok/pool via AP)
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Buckingham Palace in London, for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Boris Johnson leaves Whitehall before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II where he will accept her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Boris Johnson leaves Whitehall before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II where he will accept her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, on the day it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves his office in Westminster, London, after it was announced he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson (left) with Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis as he arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson speaks at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London after being announced as the new Conservative party leader and next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves his office in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London as it was announced Mr Johnson is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
Jeremy Hunt (left) and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where Mr Johson was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Lucia Hunt, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London as it was announced Mr Johnson is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
Jeremy Hunt (left) congratulates Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where he was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Lucia Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, congratulating Boris Johnson and Sir Edward Lister, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where Mr Johnson was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
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Mr Johnson's remarks, made during a self-styled "People's PMQs" from his Downing Street desk, came after the European Commission insisted Britain needs to explain its ideas on the way forward if talks are to progress.

Vanessa Mock, a European Commission spokeswoman, said "our doors are open" to discuss matters with the UK although any "concrete proposals" should be "compatible" with the Withdrawal Agreement.

Philip Hammond also made his first major intervention since quitting as chancellor, arguing that a no-deal Brexit would be "as much a betrayal" of the 2016 referendum as not leaving at all.

He added it could cause "irreparable damage" to the union of the UK, and hit out at "those who are pulling the strings in Downing Street, those who are setting the strategy".

Mr Hammond also warned that trying to "bypass Parliament" to force through a no-deal Brexit would "provoke a constitutional crisis".

The continuing row over the Brexit process has dominated the summer recess, with Mr Johnson maintaining he is intent on ensuring the UK leaves the EU on October 31.

Asked how he can deliver this pledge given the lack of movement from the EU and opposition from MPs, Mr Johnson said: "There's a terrible kind of collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.

"And our European friends are not moving in their willingness to compromise, they're not compromising at all on the Withdrawal Agreement even though it's been thrown out three times, they're sticking to every letter, every comma of the Withdrawal Agreement – including the backstop – because they still think Brexit can be blocked in Parliament.

"The awful thing is the longer that goes on, the more likely it is of course that we will be forced to leave with a no-deal Brexit.

"That's not what I want, it's not what we're aiming for but we need our European friends to compromise.

"The more they think there's a chance that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position."

Mr Johnson said he remains "confident we will get there" and leave the EU on October 31, adding: "In the end both our friends in other European capitals and I think MPs will see it's vital to get on and to do it."

Ms Mock earlier told a media briefing in Brussels: "We're ready to analyse any concrete proposals that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement, and also ready to rework the future relationship as outlined in the Political Declaration. The UK knows well that our doors remain open to that effect.

"But for the talks to progress the UK Government needs to explain its ideas on how it sees the way forward, respecting the commitments it took earlier in these negotiations."

Asked if the refusal to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement also stands for any future British government, such as a Labour administration, Ms Mock replied: "Our doors are open to discuss with the UK authorities, I never said anything about refusal, but I won't go beyond what I said."

Conservative MP Mr Hammond said Mr Johnson's attempts to get the EU to back down on the backstop are a "wrecking tactic".

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(PA Graphics)

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Hammond said: "Leaving the EU without a deal would be just as much a betrayal of the referendum result as not leaving at all."

He said there is no mandate for no deal, and that most people want a close relationship with the EU to protect jobs and the economy.

"More than 17 million people did not vote to leave the EU with no deal. That is the key point here. There is no mandate for leaving with no deal."

Mr Hammond also accused the Government of making "unsubstantiated" claims over Brexit which he said need to be checked.

Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond (Simon Dawson/PA)

He said: "Over the last three weeks I have deliberately kept quiet to allow the Prime Minister the space and time to set out his plan for getting a deal that will lead to a good Brexit.

"But we cannot simply allow the Government's unsubstantiated message to go unchecked.

"A no-deal exit will cause significant harm to the UK economy and, potentially, irreparable damage to the union of the United Kingdom. People need to know the facts."

Commons Speaker John Bercow, in remarks reported by the Herald newspaper, told an audience at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: "If there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or – God forbid – to close down Parliament, that is anathema to me.

"I will fight with every breath in my body to stop that happening."

Meanwhile, the Transport Secretary said the Government has issued an "invitation to tender" for £300 million of freight to make sure supplies can reach the UK after Brexit.

Grant Shapps said he will be attending the Exit Operations Committee in the Cabinet Office to "plan the detail to make sure that when we do leave, which we will do on October 31, it is as smooth as it possibly can be".

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