Brexit deal prospects ‘touch and go’, Boris Johnson claims

The prospect of a Brexit deal is "touch and go" but failure to reach an accord would be the fault of the European Union, Boris Johnson has said.

The Prime Minister, who was using the G7 summit in Biarritz to hold talks with European Council president Donald Tusk, said he believed the chances of a deal were "improving" following a round of diplomacy which has also seen meetings with Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron.

But he refused to repeat his previous assertion that the odds of a no-deal outcome were a million to one.

"It all depends on our EU friends and partners, I think in the last few days there has been a dawning realisation in Brussels and other European capital what the shape of the problem is for the UK," he told the BBC.

"I think it's going to be touch and go but the important thing is to get ready to come out without a deal."

In a series of broadcast interviews Mr Johnson confirmed that he would withhold the bulk of the £39 billion Brexit divorce bill if there is not a deal.

"I think what the entire European Union understands is that if we come out without a deal that the £39 billion is not pledged," he told Sky.

If there was a no-deal Brexit, he said he would "guarantee" that people would still be able to get medicine and "I think it's highly unlikely that there will be food shortages of any kind".

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson attends a working session during the G7 summit (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Mr Johnson went for a swim in the Atlantic before his meetings at the G7 and told ITV: "I swam round that rock this morning. From here you cannot tell there is a gigantic hole in that rock. There is a way through.

"My point to the EU is that there is a way through, but you can't find the way through if you just sit on the beach."

Before the summit, Mr Tusk urged Mr Johnson not to go down in history as "Mr No Deal".

The Prime Minister told Sky: "The people who are going to be responsible for no deal are not in the UK, we don't want no-deal."

The Prime Minister's comments came as he faced a backlash over reports he had sought legal advice from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox about temporarily shutting down Parliament – known as prorogation – for five weeks from September 9.

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G7: Boris Johnson's first steps on to the world stage as PM
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G7: Boris Johnson's first steps on to the world stage as PM
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive for a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive for a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Council President Donald Tusk meet for the first working session of the G7 Summit on August 25, 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 Jeff J Mitchell - Pool /Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson meets with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk at the G7 summit on August 25, 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)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) meets European Union Council President Donald Tusk (L) at a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures ahead of a working session on World Economy and Trade on the second day of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a working breakfast at the Hotel du Palais on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at the Bellevue Palace in Biarritz, south-west France for lunch on August 25, 2019, on the second 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 Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a working session on "G7 Partnership with Africa" during the G7 summit 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 Dylan Martinez - Pool/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives with Foreign Office Head of Operations Shelley Williams-Walker at the Bellevue Palace in Biarritz, south-west France for lunch on August 25, 2019, on the second 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 Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) meets European Union Council President Donald Tusk (L) at a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson meets with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk at the G7 summit on August 25, 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)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) meets European Union Council President Donald Tusk (L) at a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson participates in a TV interview ahead of bilateral meetings as part of the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) speaks flanked by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) during a working session on "International Economy and Trade, and International Security Agenda" in Biarritz, south-west France on August 25, 2019, on the second 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 Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW HARNIK/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) European Council President Donald Tusk, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, US President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, France's President Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a working session on "International Economy and Trade, and International Security Agenda" in Biarritz, south-west France on August 25, 2019, on the second 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 Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW HARNIK/AFP/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends the first working session of the G7 Summit on August 25, 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 Jeff J Mitchell - Pool /Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends the first working session of the G7 Summit on August 25, 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 Jeff J Mitchell - Pool /Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images)
BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 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 Dylan Martinez - Pool/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson disembarks a plane as he arrives as Biarritz Pays Basque Airport for the G7 summit 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 Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson disembarks a plane as he arrives as Biarritz Pays Basque Airport for the G7 summit 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 Adrià Salido Zarco/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The Observer reported that the move would allow for a Queen's Speech, starting a new parliamentary session, on October 14.

Such a move would keep MPs away from the Commons until shortly before the European Council summit of EU leaders on October 17, potentially preventing moves to block a no-deal Brexit.

A Government source added: "The claim that the Government is considering proroguing parliament in September in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false."

But Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "If Boris Johnson can find a kooky or irregular way to shut Parliament out of the Brexit process, it will be an outrage."

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