Johnson says he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ of new Brexit deal
Boris Johnson has said he is “cautiously optimistic” of getting a Brexit deal as he prepares for talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
The Prime Minister will travel to Luxembourg on Monday for his first meeting with Mr Juncker and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier since taking office in July, Downing Street said.
Speaking in Rotherham at the launch of his plan to re-vitalise the Northern Powerhouse initiative, Mr Johnson said there was the “rough shape” of a deal in place.
However, he was heckled by a member of audience who told him to “get back to Parliament” to sort out “the mess that you have created”.
Mr Johnson brushed off the interruption, insisting MPs would have “ample time” to consider Brexit when Parliament returns next month after a five-week suspension.
He said recent meetings with Irish premier Leo Varadkar, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron had made “a good deal of progress” towards an agreement.
But he made clear that if he was unable to get a new deal, he would not be deterred by “shenanigans” at Westminster from taking Britain out of the EU by the October 31 deadline.
His comments came after Commons Speaker John Bercow warned on Thursday that MPs would act “forcefully” to prevent the Prime Minister pushing through a no-deal Brexit against the will of the House.
In response to reporters’ questions, Mr Johnson said his meetings with Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier would be an opportunity to discuss the ideas they had been working on.
“We are working incredibly hard to get a deal. There is the rough shape of the deal to be done. I would say I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said.