Cameron warns Johnson must give ground if he wants a Brexit deal

David Cameron has warned Boris Johnson that he will have to make further compromises if he wants the UK to leave the EU with a Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister has said that his blueprint to resolve the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop represents a “fair and reasonable compromise”.

However, EU leaders have so far refused to enter into detailed discussions on the plan, saying it does not represent the basis for a new Brexit settlement.

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned the workings of a deal need to be in place by Friday if there is to be an agreement at the EU summit next week in Brussels.

Brexit
Boris Johnson has said Britain will leave the EU on October 31, come what may (Victoria Jones/PA)

Downing Street has said the comments were not “helpful” and urged Brussels to match the concessions made by Mr Johnson.

However Mr Cameron, speaking to The Times editor John Witherow at an event to promote his memoirs, said the Prime Minister may have to give more ground to get an agreement.

“The answer I suspect is now compromise on both sides,” he told the audience at the Barbican centre in London on Monday.

“Boris is compromising and I suspect may have to move a bit more. And the EU should compromise too.”

The former premier also said Mr Johnson could not ignore the Benn Act which requires him to ask the EU for a further delay to Brexit if he cannot get a deal by October 19.

“You can’t disobey the law as Prime Minister,” he said.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly said that while he will abide by the law, Britain is leaving on October 31 come what may – although he has yet to explain how that can be achieved.

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French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the workings of a deal need to be in place by Friday (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

The Spectator political editor James Forsyth quoted a source in No 10 as saying there were “all sorts of things” they could do to scupper a delay.

The source was also quoted as blaming Irish premier Leo Varadkar for refusing to negotiate, and warning that if Mr Johnson’s plan “dies” in the next few days it would not be revived.

“To marginalise the Brexit Party, we will have to fight the election on the basis of ‘No more delays, get Brexit done immediately’,” the source is quoted as saying.

Mr Cameron however warned there was no guarantee the Conservatives would win a general election, which Mr Johnson has been pressing for.

“I fought an election in 2015 when I was told I was definitely going to lose, and I won. And I fought a referendum (on leaving the EU) and I was told I was definitely going to win, and I lost,” he said.

“The trouble with general elections is you’re asking one question, but people may easily go and vote on any number of other questions”.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties remain divided on how best to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

The latest meeting of party leaders at Westminster ended on Monday without agreement, amid accusations Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was acting as a “barrier” to an agreement.

Labour has insisted that if Mr Johnson is defeated in a vote of confidence, Mr Corbyn should lead an interim government to seek a new Brexit delay – something the Liberal Democrats and rebel Tory MPs who lost party whip oppose.

Parliament is due to prorogue again at the end of business on Tuesday, ahead of the Queen’s Speech on Monday setting out the Government’s new legislative programme.

Meanwhile the Lib Dems received a further boost with the announcement that former Tory MP Heidi Allen has become the latest defector to join the party, taking their tally of MPs to 19.

The South Cambridgeshire MP has been sitting in the Commons as an independent since quitting the Change UK group in June.

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