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EU chiefs blast Boris Johnson's proposals as key negotiator hits out at 'traitor' Brexiteers

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 09/10/2019 Jacob Jarvis
Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

EU chiefs have trashed the Government's latest Brexit proposals, with one key negotiator hitting out at "traitors" Brexiteers in a personal attack on the Prime Minister.

The European Parliament discussed Britain's departure in a heated session this afternoon - which saw Boris Johnson's proposals slammed and securing a deal ruled "very difficult".

The Parliament's President David Sassoli said "not much progress" had been made, adding: "The European Parliament will not accept a deal at any cost."

He also discussed having "fruitful" conversations with the Speaker John Bercow, in which he said an extension could be secured if it were to facilitate a general election or a second referendum.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building: Boris Johnson meets the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli (Getty Images) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Boris Johnson meets the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli (Getty Images)

Mr Johnson's latest suggestions to the EU were described as "ideas" as opposed concrete proposals, he added.

As the debated continued, European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt went further and angrily described Mr Johnson's proposals as "not serious".

He added that anyone risking "disaster" by pushing Britain out of the EU is a "traitor".

Facts to know about Brexit [Photos]

Michel Barnier wearing a suit and tie: European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. (AP) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. (AP)

He told the European Parliament: "I think that the proposal that Boris Johnson exactly one week ago has put forward was not serious at all.

"Not serious at all because it was in fact, I call it a virtual proposal, it was not a real proposal. It gives, in fact, a veto to the DUP in a number of issues."

He also criticised the "blame game", which European Council President Donald Tusk previously hit out at.

Guy Verhofstadt wearing a suit and tie: European Parliament Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt blasted the PM's proposals (AP) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited European Parliament Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt blasted the PM's proposals (AP)

Mr Verhofstadt added: "The real reason why this is all happening is very simple. It's a blame game. A blame game against everybody. A blame game against the union, against Ireland, against Mrs Merkel, against the British judiciary system, against Labour, against the Lib Dems, even against Mrs May.

"The only one who is not being blamed is Mr Johnson himself apparently, but all the rest are the source of our problems."

He continued: "All those who are not playing his game are traitors, or collaborators, or surrenderers. Well, in my opinion dear colleagues, the real traitor is he or she who would risk bringing disaster upon his country, its economy, its citizens by pushing Britain out of the European Union. That is, in my opinion, a traitor."

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The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said striking a Brexit deal ahead of the Halloween deadline would be difficult.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker added: "I don't accept this blame game that started in London. Personally, I don't exclude a deal."

Brexit minister, Steve Barclay, is due to have lunch with Mr Barnier, on Thursday, while the PM will meet with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

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