Johnson’s first summit as PM sees clash with Tusk over Brexit blame

Boris Johnson has begun his first summit as Prime Minister by clashing with European Council president Donald Tusk over who would be to blame for a failure to reach a Brexit deal.

Mr Tusk said he hoped the Prime Minister would not go down in history as "Mr No Deal" ahead of their face-to-face talks at the G7 summit in Biarritz on Sunday.

But speaking on the plane to Biarritz, the Prime Minister shot back by suggesting that failure to reach a Brexit agreement would also reflect badly on Mr Tusk.

The gathering in the French resort marks Mr Johnson's debut on the world stage, and he will also have a highly-anticipated first meeting with US President Donald Trump, where they are expected to discuss a potential post-Brexit trade deal.

Mr Johnson said the gathering of leaders from the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan was not a "wonderful boondoggle at some posh hotel", but a chance to improve the lives of people around the world.

In comments as Mr Johnson prepared to board his plane to France, Mr Tusk warned he would no co-operate with a no-deal Brexit, an apparent sign the European Union would not be willing to create a series of side deals to manage the impact.

Mr Tusk said: "One thing I will not cooperate on is no deal. I still hope that Prime Minister Johnson will not like to go down in history as `Mr no deal'.

"We are willing to listen to ideas that are operational, realistic and acceptable to all member states including Ireland, if and when the UK Government is ready to put them on the table."

On the way to Biarritz, Mr Johnson gave his response, telling reporters: "I have made it absolutely clear I don't want a no-deal Brexit.

"But I say to our friends in the EU if they don't want a no-deal Brexit then we have got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty.

"If Donald Tusk doesn't want to go down as 'Mr no-deal Brexit' then I hope that point will be borne in mind by him too."

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Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump and Brigitte Macron and French President Emmanuel Macron join other World Leaders for the family photo at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Brigitte Macron and French President Emmanuel Macron join other World Leaders for the family photo at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a working lunch on Digital transformation as part of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference at the conclusion of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
French President and G7 host Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte are seen in a meeting during the G7 Summit in Biarritz today.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, during a working lunch on Digital transformation as part of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
(left to right) Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, European Council President Donald Tusk, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a working lunch on Digital transformation as part of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets European Council President Donald Tusk for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel join other World Leaders for the family photo at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa join other World Leaders for the family photo at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) joins other World Leaders and their spouses for the family photo at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson participates in a TV interview ahead of bilateral meetings as part of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets European Council President Donald Tusk for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting US President Donald Trump for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson participates in a TV interview ahead of bilateral meetings as part of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
US President Donald Trump attends the first working session of the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a working session during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a G7 and Africa partnership session during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a working session during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets US President Donald Trump for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) joins other World Leaders for the family photo at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting India PM Narendra Modi for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting India PM Narendra Modi for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting President of Chile Sebastian Pinera for bilateral talks during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron during a G7 coordination meeting with the Group of Seven European members at the Hotel du Palais on August 24, 2019 in Biarritz, France. The French southwestern seaside resort of Biarritz is hosting the 45th G7 summit from August 24 to 26. High on the agenda will be the climate emergency, the US-China trade war, Britain's departure from the EU, and emergency talks on the Amazon wildfire crisis. (Photo by Andrew Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) chats with US President Donald Trump (2ndR) as French President's wife Brigitte Macron clutches the hand of US First Lady Melania Trump (L) at the Biarritz lighthouse, southwestern France, ahead of a working dinner on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. - EU leaders rounded on US President Donald Trump over his trade threats at a G7 summit in France overshadowed by trans-Atlantic tensions and worries about the global economy. (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images)
French Gendarmes detain a man during a demonstration in the city of Bayonne, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the sidelines of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States taking place in the seaside resort of Biarritz. - More than 9,000 anti-G7 protesters joined a mass march across the French-Spanish border as world leaders arrived for a summit in Biarritz just hours after activists clashed with police. Authorities remain on high alert, with Biarritz on lockdown and police deployed en masse in the neighbouring town of Bayonne as well to keep protesters at bay. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd R), and his wife Brigitte welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L) and his wife Akie Abe at the Biarritz lighthouse, southwestern France, ahead of a working dinner on August 24, 2019. - Shadowed by the threat of global recession, a U.S. trade war with China and the possibility of one against Europe, the posturing by leaders of the G-7 rich democracies began well before they stood together for a summit photo. (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron (R), welcomes Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Biarritz lighthouse, southwestern France, ahead of a working dinner on August 24, 2019. - Shadowed by the threat of global recession, a U.S. trade war with China and the possibility of one against Europe, the posturing by leaders of the G-7 rich democracies began well before they stood together for a summit photo. (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron (L), and his wife Brigitte welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Biarritz lighthouse, southwestern France, ahead of a working dinner on August 24, 2019. - Shadowed by the threat of global recession, a U.S. trade war with China and the possibility of one against Europe, the posturing by leaders of the G-7 rich democracies began well before they stood together for a summit photo. (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Photojournalist take pictures as three protesters tear down a barricade during demonstration in the city of Bayonne, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the sidelines of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States taking place in the nearby seaside resort of Biarritz. - More than 9,000 anti-G7 protesters joined a mass march across the French-Spanish border as world leaders arrived for a summit in Biarritz just hours after activists clashed with police. Authorities remain on high alert, with Biarritz on lockdown and police deployed en masse in the neighbouring town of Bayonne as well to keep protesters at bay. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte welcome Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) at the Biarritz lighthouse, southwestern France, ahead of a working dinner on August 24, 2019 on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. - EU leaders rounded on US President Donald Trump over his trade threats at a G7 summit in France overshadowed by trans-Atlantic tensions and worries about the global economy. (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images)
French CRS riot police stand by in Bayonne, south-west France on August 24, 2019, ahead of expected protests on the sidelines of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. - More than 9,000 anti-G7 protesters joined a mass march across the French-Spanish border as world leaders arrived for a summit in Biarritz just hours after activists clashed with police. Authorities remain on high alert, with Biarritz on lockdown and police deployed en masse in the neighbouring town of Bayonne as well to keep protesters at bay. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Saturday, August 24, 2019, when the summit of the G7 begins in Biarritz, A demonstration of opposition to the holding of this summit took place between Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain) bringing together thousands of people, among which altermondialistes , NGO environmental activists and yellow vests. This demonstration followed the counter-summit (GZ-EZ) organized from August 21st to 23rd. It was calm (Photo by Estelle Ruiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Saturday, August 24, 2019, when the summit of the G7 begins in Biarritz, A demonstration of opposition to the holding of this summit took place between Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain) bringing together thousands of people, among which altermondialistes , NGO environmental activists and yellow vests. This demonstration followed the counter-summit (GZ-EZ) organized from August 21st to 23rd. It was calm (Photo by Estelle Ruiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Saturday, August 24, 2019, when the summit of the G7 begins in Biarritz, A demonstration of opposition to the holding of this summit took place between Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain) bringing together thousands of people, among which altermondialistes , NGO environmental activists and yellow vests. This demonstration followed the counter-summit (GZ-EZ) organized from August 21st to 23rd. It was calm (Photo by Estelle Ruiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A man lobs a stone (top) during a protest in the city of Bayonne, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the sidelines of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States taking place in the seaside resort of Biarritz. - More than 9,000 anti-G7 protesters joined a mass march across the French-Spanish border as world leaders arrived for a summit in Biarritz just hours after activists clashed with police. Authorities remain on high alert, with Biarritz on lockdown and police deployed en masse in the neighbouring town of Bayonne as well to keep protesters at bay. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in a demonstration against the G7 Summit, in Irun, Spain, on August 24, 2019. (Photo by Juan Carlos Lucas/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
People take part in a demonstration against the G7 Summit, in Irun, Spain, on August 24, 2019. (Photo by Juan Carlos Lucas/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Around 10.000 people took part in the no G7 demonstration on August 24th in Hendaye (France). The protest was part of the actions against the G7 summit which takes place in the French southwestern seaside resort of Biarritz from August 24 to 26, 2019. (Photo by David Speier/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
People take part in a demonstration against the G7 Summit, in Irun, Spain, on August 24, 2019. (Photo by Juan Carlos Lucas/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) speaks with France's President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting at the Bellevue in Biarritz, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the first day of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. (Photo by PHILIPPE WOJAZER / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images)
People play drums during a demonstration in Bayonne, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the sidelines of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. - More than 9,000 anti-G7 protesters joined a mass march across the French-Spanish border as world leaders arrived for a summit in Biarritz just hours after activists clashed with police. Authorities remain on high alert, with Biarritz on lockdown and police deployed en masse in the neighbouring town of Bayonne as well to keep protesters at bay. (Photo by GAIZKA IROZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read GAIZKA IROZ/AFP/Getty Images)
French gendarmes stand guard next to mesh movable barriers and check people at the entrance of the Vieux Bayonne district in Bayonne, south-west France on August 24, 2019, on the sidelines of the annual G7 Summit attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. - More than 9,000 anti-G7 protesters joined a mass march across the French-Spanish border as world leaders arrived for a summit in Biarritz just hours after activists clashed with police. Authorities remain on high alert, with Biarritz on lockdown and police deployed en masse in the neighbouring town of Bayonne as well to keep protesters at bay. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 24: (L-R) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron take their seats during a G7 coordination meeting with the Group of Seven European members at the Hotel du Palais on August 24, 2019 in Biarritz, France. The French southwestern seaside resort of Biarritz is hosting the 45th G7 summit from August 24 to 26. High on the agenda will be the climate emergency, the US-China trade war, Britain's departure from the EU, and emergency talks on the Amazon wildfire crisis. (Photo by Andrew Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Biarritz, France, for the annual G7 summit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Biarritz, France, for the annual G7 summit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Biarritz, France, for the annual G7 summit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Biarritz, France, for the annual G7 summit.
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Mr Johnson said he expected talks on his alternative to the backstop "in the coming weeks", with discussions "in great detail" ahead of the October 31 exit day.

The European Council president has previously claimed there is a "special place in hell" for people who backed Brexit without a clear plan to implement it.

Asked if he thought that was aimed at him, the Prime Minister said: "I have great relations with our friends and partners in the EU and intend to continue to improve them the whole time, without getting into any post-Brexit eschatology with the president of the council."

The G7 summit comes amid a mounting trade war between the US and China, with Mr Trump saying on the eve of the summit he had "hereby ordered" American firms to leave China.

Mr Johnson appealed for calm – warning the dispute between Beijing and Washington would have a knock-on effect on the global economy.

He said: "Don't forget the UK is at risk of being implicated in this.

"The value of our goods affected is £2.25 billion, £1.1 billion on whisky alone that we could face if this goes on.

"This is not the way to proceed.

"Apart from anything else, those who support the tariffs are at risk of incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy irrespective of whether or not that is true.

"So I want to see an opening up of global trade, I want to see a dialling down of tensions and I want to see tariffs come off."

As the summit's host, French President Emmanuel Macron has put the destruction of the Amazon rainforest on the summit agenda.

Mr Johnson said: "We need to escalate here at the G7 the tragedy of what humanity is inflicting on the natural world."

But he played down the prospect of the destruction having an impact on the possibility of a trade deal with Brazil.

"There are all sorts of people who will take any excuse at all to interfere with trade and to frustrate trade deals and I don't want to see that," he said.

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