Emmanuel Macron gives Boris Johnson five days to change his Brexit proposal

France's President Emmanuel Macron told Boris Johnson on Sunday that a decision would be made on whether a deal was possible by the end of the week. (Reuters)


Emmanuel Macron has told Boris Johnson to change his Brexit proposal by the end of the week if he wants to secure a deal.

In a phone call between the pair on Sunday, the Prime Minister is reported to have warned that Brussels should not be lured into the “mistaken belief” that Britain would be willing to accept a further Brexit extension.

The call represents a further increase in tensions between London and the EU at the start of another pivotal week for Brexit.

Mr Johnson said the EU must match the compromises the UK has made, claiming that his new proposals commanded the support of MPs.

An Élysée official said: “The President told [Mr Johnson] that the negotiations should continue swiftly with Michel Barnier’s team in coming days, in order to evaluate at the end of the week whether a deal is possible that respects European Union principles.”

Boris Johnson called several European leaders over the weekend. (PA)

Mr Johnson is required by law to ask for an extension from the EU if no deal is agreed following his defeat in a Commons vote last month.

But Number 10 warned Brussels that it would be a “historic misunderstanding” to believe the so-called Benn Act could prevent a no-deal Brexit – despite it being designed to do so.

A senior Downing Street source said: “This is the chance to get a deal done: a deal that is backed by parliamentarians and a deal which involves compromise on all sides.

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“The UK has made a big, important offer but it’s time for the Commission to show a willingness to compromise too. If not, the UK will leave with no deal.

“The surrender act and its authors are undermining negotiations, but if EU leaders are betting that it will prevent no-deal, that would be a historic misunderstanding.”

A court is set to rule on Monday whether the Prime Minister can be forced by the courts to send a letter requesting an Article 50 extension.

Documents submitted to the Court of Session on behalf of Mr Johnson were read out on Friday in which he made it clear he would not attempt to frustrate the Benn Act.

The petitioners launched the legal action because they believe Number 10 cannot be trusted to abide by the law.

But The Telegraph reported that the PM is willing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to avoid having to write a letter asking for a delay to Brexit.

Mr Johnson is expected to speak with other European leaders on Monday, and could travel to mainland Europe later in the week in a bid to secure an agreement.

It is understood that the government will consider publishing the full legal text of his deal, which has so far only been shared confidentially with Brussels, if it is deemed helpful to progress the negotiations.

In Westminster, Jeremy Corbyn will meet the leaders of other opposition parties to scrutinise the government’s new Brexit proposals and decide the next steps to “hold the government to account”.

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