No joint press conference in Luxembourg – ‘We’re ready for no-deal’ – Johnson

Brexit campaigners at Parliament want the Leave vote respected

TORY PM Boris Johnson yesterday travelled to Luxembourg to meet EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and the country’s PM Xavier Bettel.

After the meeting, Johnson requested to have an indoor press conference because of the noise being made by a hostile crowd of mainly British Remainers which would drown it out, but this was refused.

He instead made a short statement at the British Embassy. Johnson said: ‘Over the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of work, papers have been shared, we are now in the stage where we have to start really accelerating the work, that was the agreement today.

‘Yes there is a good chance of a deal, yes I can see the shape of it. Everyone can see roughly what could be done.

‘But it will require movement and it will require the system by which the EU can control the UK after we leave, the so-called Backstop, to go.

‘And that needs to happen, and so, that is a big change that we need to get done. But if we can get that done, as I have said before, then we are at the races. And I think that we have got just the right amount of time to do a deal, between now and the 17-18th of October.

‘But as I never tire of telling, if we cannot do a deal by then, then we will make sure that we come out of the EU on the 31st October, deal or no deal.’

Meanwhile, Luxembourg premier Bettel spoke at the outdoor press conference as he was cheered on by the demonstration of pro-Remain Brits.

He then launched a major attack on the UK government’s position to the cheers of the pro-Remain demo.

In a direct message to Johnson he said: ‘You can’t hold the future hostage for party political gains,’ adding: ‘Johnson holds the future of all UK citizens and every EU citizen living in the UK in his hands.’

Again, directing his comments at Johnson and pointing towards his empty podium, he warned: ‘The clock is ticking use your time wisely.’

Bettel added: ‘We will not provide an extension without good agreement. People want clarity, as soon as possible, so to talk about new delays just to postpone things is not in the interests of our citizens.

‘For me, I just have one Withdrawal Agreement on the table and it is the one from last year, we will not accept any agreement which is against the Common Market or the Good Friday Agreement. I have no new written proposals on the table.

‘At the moment we have one Withdrawal Agreement and nothing else.

‘Now people try to blame the others because we cannot find an agreement.

‘We did not decide to organise the Brexit! It is unilateral decision of the UK government.

‘We have to accept the result. We sit around the table, we have a Withdrawal Agreement and this Withdrawal Agreement has been accepted by the UK government. I just want to repeat and to remind that Theresa May accepted the Withdrawal Agreement, so don’t be like the European Union would be the bad guy for not accepting the decisions that the UK proposes.

‘It is not under my responsibility if they are not able to find a United Kingdom majority in the House of Commons.’