Donald Tusk accused Boris Johnson of entering ‘stupid blame game’ over Brexit after Downing Street claimed the EU had made a Brexit deal “impossible”.
Sources in London today claimed German chancellor Angela Merkel had made clear that an agreement was now “overwhelmingly unlikely”.
Following a telephone call with Boris Johnson, she was said to have insisted the Irish must have a veto over Northern Ireland leaving the customs union.
The claims provoked a furious response from European Council president Donald Tusk who accused him of jeopardising the future security of the EU and the UK.
“Boris Johnson, what’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game,” he tweeted.
“At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people.
“You don’t want a deal, you don’t want an extension, you don’t want to revoke, quo vadis?”
Withdrawing security co-operation with Ireland “unacceptable”
Amid the dramatic escalation in the war of words between London and Brussels, there was apparent alarm among some UK ministers at the prospect the Government could withdraw security co-operation with the EU if it tries to stop the UK leaving in a no-deal Brexit at the end of the month.
Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said: “I am clear that any threat on withdrawing security co-operation with Ireland is unacceptable.”
The row comes after EU leaders made clear that Mr Johnson’s plan to resolve issue of the Northern Ireland backstop was not a basis for an agreement.
A no 10 source said Mrs Merkel had told the Prime Minister that the UK could not leave the EU without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union with the EU.
“It was a very useful clarifying moment in all sorts of ways,” the unnamed source, quoted by Sky News, said.
“If this represents a new established position, then it means a deal is essentially impossible, not just now but ever.
“It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday Agreement.”
Their call followed an overnight briefing to The Spectator magazine from an unnamed No 10 source warning any attempt by the EU to prevent Britain leaving at the end of October would be treated as “hostile interference” in UK politics.
It was said to have been made clear that defence and security co-operation with the EU would be affected if it tried to keep Britain in against the will of the Government.
“We will make clear privately and publicly that countries which oppose delay will go the front of the queue for future co-operation – co-operation on things both within and outside EU competences” the source said.
“Those who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue. Supporting delay will be seen by this Government as hostile interference in domestic politics, and over half of the public will agree with us.”