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‘Collaborators’ are undermining Britain’s Brexit bet, PM says

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday some British lawmakers hoping to block Brexit were engaged in “terrible” collaboration with the European Union by undermining Londons negotiating hand and so making no deal more likely.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks next to Britain's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commissioner Cressida Dick and Youth Justice Board Adviser Roy Sefa-Attakora during a roundtable on the criminal justice system at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain August 12, 2019. Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool via REUTERS

Hours after senior lawmakers said they would seek to prevent any attempt to ignore parliament over Brexit, Johnson used a question-and-answer session on Facebook to attack them.

“There is a terrible kind of collaboration as it were going on between those who think they can block Brexit in parliament and our European friends,” Johnson, who has been hailed by the U.S. president as “Britains Trump”, said on Facebook.

“We need our European friends to compromise and the more they think that theres a chance that Brexit can be blocked in parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position,” Johnson said.

Johnsons use of the word “collaborator” has historical echoes for Britons given the use of that epithet for people who cooperated with Nazi Germany during World War Two.

“Shameful language of fascism and authoritarianism from liar Johnson + unelected advisors – plain and simple. European neighbours are our friends not enemy to collaborate with,” Labour lawmaker Stephen Doughty said on Twitter.

Johnsons comments followed remarks by former finance minister Philip Hammond that parliament will block a no-deal Brexit if unelected people behind Johnson try to wrench Britain out on Oct. 31 without agreement.

The United Kingdom is heading towards a constitutional crisis at home and a showdown with the EU as Johnson has vowed to leave the bloc in 78 days time without a deal unless it agrees to renegotiate a Brexit divorce.

After more than three years of Brexit dominating EU affairs, the bloc has repeatedly refused to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement which includes an Irish border insurance policy that Johnsons predecessor, Theresa May, agreed in November.

Hammond, who served as Mays finance minister for three years, said unelected people in Johnsons Downing Street office were setting London on an “inevitable” course towards a no-deal Brexit by demanding the Irish backstop be dropped.

“The people behind this know that that means that there will be no deal,” Hammond told the BBC. “Parliament is clearly opposed to a no-deal exit, and the prime minister must respect that.”

LAWMAKERS RESOLVE

The former ministers first public intervention since resigning indicates the determination of a group of influential lawmakers to thwart Johnson if he goes for a no-deal Brexit.

Hammond said he was confident parliament, where a majority oppose a no-deal Brexit, would find a way to block that outcome.

It is, however, unclear if lawmakers have the unity or power to use the 800-year-old heart of British democracy to prevent a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 – likely to be the United Kingdoms most consequential move since World War Two.

Opponents of no deal say it would be a disaster for what was once one of the Wests most stable democracies. A disorderly divorce, they say, would hurt global growth, send shockwaves through financial markets and weaken Londons claim to be the worlds preeminent financial centre.

Brexit supporters say there may be short-term disruption from a no-deal exit but that the economy will thrive if cut free from what they cast as a doomed experiment in integration that has led to Europe falling behind China and the United States.

Heading towards one of the biggest constitutional crises in at least a century, Britains elite are quarrelling over how, when and even if the result of the Read More

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