Brexit warning to EU: Let Barnier renegotiate or no deal is ‘coming down the tracks’

The warning has come from Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay as further Government leaks have warned of the impacts the UK leaving the European Union on October 31 without an agreement could have on the country. The UK’s Brexit negotiator claimed Michel Barnier told him in a discussion last week that he cannot change the the withdrawal agreement as he is bound by the instructions given to him by the European Commission and leaders of member states. Mr Barclay followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in repeating the UK will definitely leave the EU on October 31, “whatever the circumstances”.

He maintained while Britain would prefer to depart with an agreement in place, “we will be ready to leave without one, having made all the necessary preparations”.

Writing for the Mail on Sunday, the Brexit Secretary said: “We have a clear and unambiguous position – we will leave the EU on October 31, whatever the circumstances.

“We would prefer to leave with a new deal, but will be ready to leave without one, having made all the necessary preparations.

“The facts are unchanged. Parliament will not accept the withdrawal agreement as it is."

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Brexit news: Stephen Barclay has warned EU leaders to allow Michel Barnier to strike a new deal (Image: GETTY)

michel barnier stephen barclay

Brexit news: Stephen Barclay has urged EU nations to give Michel Barnier a mandate to change the agreement (Image: GETTY)

Mr Barnier needs to urge EU leaders to consider this if they too want an agreement, to enable him to negotiate in a way that finds common ground with the UK. Otherwise, No Deal is coming down the tracks

Stephen Barclay

But Mr Barclay the EU's chief Brexit negotiator could now have the power to renegotiate the deal as the “political realities have changed” since the European Parliament elections in May.

He argued 61 percent of the EU states’ MEPs have now changed, and “such a fundamental shift illustrates the need for a change of approach”.

Mr Barclay urged the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator to persuade EU leaders to consider these changes if they want to avoid a no deal Brexit.

He said: “Mr Barnier needs to urge EU leaders to consider this if they too want an agreement, to enable him to negotiate in a way that finds common ground with the UK. Otherwise, No Deal is coming down the tracks.

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boris johnson

Brexit news: Boris Johnson has insisted the UK will leave the EU on October 31 (Image: GETTY)

“The countries of the EU need to ask themselves what is in our shared best interest.

“This is for the UK to have a smooth and orderly exit. They also need to understand the depth of feeling in Parliament against the anti-democratic backstop.

“It was voted down three times because it would be easier to leave the EU than the backstop.”

Mr Barclay also warned the EU there is absolutely no chance of the Brexit deal being passed through Parliament as long as the “anti-democratic backstop” remains in place.

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michel barnier

Brexit news; Michel Barnier has repeated the withdrawal agreement will not be renegotiated (Image: GETTY)

stephen barclay

Stephen Barclay maintained the UK will leave the EU on October 31 'whatever the circumstances' (Image: GETTY)

Pointing out the deal has already been voted down on three separate occasions, he also warned “attitudes have polarised” further since the European elections just over two months ago.

He said: “It is our firm view that Irish border issues should be dealt with in talks on the future agreement between the UK and the EU – where they should always have been – and we’re ready to negotiate in good faith on this basis.

“We do not accept that these issues can be solved only by all or part of the UK remaining in the customs union and Single Market.

“The evidence is that other arrangements are feasible, can better balance the risks, and will – in due course – be practical. That is the right approach.

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Brexit news; The five key moments leading to the UK's departure from the EU (Image: EXPRESS)

Mr Barclay added: “We have already started work across Whitehall to find the solutions, and they can and will be found, in the context of the free trade agreement we will negotiate with the EU after October 31.

“The unalterable fact is that the withdrawal agreement was voted down and the parliamentary arithmetic remains unchanged. Attitudes have polarised even further since the European Parliamentary elections in May.

“There is simply no chance of any deal being passed that includes the anti-democratic backstop. This is the reality that the EU has to face.

“The truth is that a deal is entirely possible if the EU takes a reasonable and sensible approach. They should start by giving their chief negotiator, Mr Barnier, the room to negotiate."

theresa may

Brexit news: Theresa May quit as Prime Minister last month after failing to get her deal through Parliament (Image: GETTY)

Meanwhile, Department for Education (DfE) analysis obtained by the Observer claims schools may have to close, food for pupils’ meals could run short and exams may be disrupted in the event of a no deal.

The DfE document also says: "Risk of travel disruption could result in school and early years settings closures, pupil and staff absence and exam disruption."

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: "This document lays bare the potential consequences of a disastrous no-deal Brexit for our schools and nurseries, and the parents and children who rely on them.

"By the Government's own admission, head teachers may be left unable to feed their pupils or forced to close their doors entirely."

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