Daily Mail

Boris snubs EU

He won’t visit Brussels or any Euro leaders – as Gove holds daily ‘emergency’ meetings over No Deal

- PAGES 12-14

‘He should let them stew’

BORIS Johnson is set to give European leaders the cold shoulder as he dramatical­ly ramps up preparatio­ns for a No Deal Brexit.

Downing Street last night said the Prime Minister had told Michael Gove to lead daily meetings of the Government’s emergency committee ‘Cobra’ in order to ensure Britain is ready for a No Deal departure on October 31.

The Cobra emergency room is normally reserved for responding to crises such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

A senior Government source said Mr Johnson had no plans to visit European capitals such as Brussels, Paris and Berlin in the hope of reopening talks.

One insider said it was possible there would be no significan­t Brexit negotiatio­ns until a Brussels summit starting on October 17, just a fortnight before the UK is due to leave the EU. The developmen­ts came as: The CBI prepared to warn that the EU ‘lags behind the UK in seeking to prevent the worst effects of a No Deal scenario’ and urge both sides to step up plans to avoid the economic fallout;

Government sources ruled out an election before the end of October, despite four polls showing Mr Johnson’s arrival had given the Tories a boost;

Mr Johnson prepared to travel to Scotland today for talks with Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who are both opposed to No Deal;

He establishe­d an inner ‘ War Cabinet’ of just six ministers to coordinate Brexit strategy;

Ministers and senior officials in Brexit-related department­s were asked to cancel their holidays;

The Treasury was gearing up for a possible emergency Budget in the first week of October;

Ministers prepared to sign off a major public informatio­n campaign including TV adverts and leaflets to 27 million homes.

Mr Johnson’s hardening stance follows terse telephone conversati­ons the new Prime Minister held with Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Claude Juncker last week in which all three European leaders rejected his demand to scrap the Irish backstop.

The senior Government source said ditching the backstop, which critics say would lock the UK into the customs union indefinite­ly, was a preconditi­on to any successful negotiatio­n.

Mr Johnson told fellow leaders he is keen to negotiate, but sees no point in trying to proceed with a deal rejected three times by MPs.

‘I wouldn’t expect to see the Prime Minister doing the ritual tour of European capitals this summer for the sake of it,’ the source said. ‘If they want to take the backstop out, then great, let’s get round the table.

‘If they don’t – and at the moment it seems they don’t – then OK, we will crack on and prepare for No Deal. We won’t be going to them.’

Leading Euroscepti­c Iain Duncan Smith last night welcomed Mr Johnson’s decision to avoid getting sucked into talks on ways to revive Theresa May’s deal.

The former Tory leader said: ‘He should let them stew for a while and see if they change their minds.

‘If he were to go to Brussels or Paris now, it would be just another set-up where we are made to look like supplicant­s again.’

In a significan­t developmen­t, No 10 last night said Mr Gove, now the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, would begin holding daily Cobra meetings tomorrow to drive ahead No Deal preparatio­ns.

Mr Gove yesterday said the Government still hoped the EU might back down but he had to ‘operate on the assumption they will not’. And Mr Johnson’s controvers­ial adviser Dominic Cummings, who mastermind­ed the Vote Leave campaign, has told colleagues his mission is to get the UK out on October 31 ‘by any means necessary’.

Sources said Mr Johnson used a conference call with the Cabinet yesterday to warn that Mrs May’s preparatio­ns for No Deal had ‘not moved quickly enough, did not result in actions or accountabi­lity and were often undermined by parallel structures’.

Mr Gove will hold his ‘daily operations committee’ – codenamed XO – in the Cabinet Office’s Cobra room until the end of the summer. And Mr Johnson will hold twiceweekl­y meetings of his ‘War Cabinet’, known as the Exit Strategy Committee, or XS.

He will also lead an Exit, Economy and Trade committee (ETC), which will focus on Britain’s postBrexit relations around the world. It came as new Chancellor Sajid Javid prepared to release details of an extra £1 billion for No Deal, on top of the £4.2 billion already allocated. The funding will include cash to recruit an additional 500 Border Force guards. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he said: ‘The Treasury will play its full role in helping to deliver Brexit.’

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