Brexit: No 10 startled by EU insistence that UK accept trade terms
Downing Street reacted in dismay as Emmanuel Macron led EU leaders in warning Boris Johnson that he must swallow the bloc’s conditions, in what appeared to be taken as a direct challenge to the British prime minister’s threat to walk out on the talks.
At a summit in Brussels, the EU proposed a further “two to three weeks” of negotiations but Europe’s heads of state and government offered Johnson little succour, demanding that he alone needed to “make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible”.
The intervention was evidently regarded as incendiary in No 10 as Johnson had said he would make a decision on Friday on whether there were grounds to continue the talks. In September, he had said that without agreement by the time of this summit the government would “move on” to focus on no-deal preparations.
This being how negotiations are done.
“Here’s our demands. Obey or no deal!”
“Well, if we could just clarify the details here?”
“Well, OK, we’ll change that little bit. But our demands, Obey!”
Somewhere around the 55th iteration of this the deal is done. Or, not, obviously. But that the “Obey!” bit has been done is about as remarkable as Boris or The Donald chasing totty.