UK to be 'the biggest losers' if it leaves EU without a deal
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on Germany and France to compromise on Brexit, cautioning that the United Kingdom would be ready to leave the European Union without a deal on October 31 if necessary.
"We will be ready to come out on October 31 - deal or no deal," Johnson told reporters on Monday.
"Of course, our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel are showing a little bit of reluctance to change their position - that's fine - I am confident that they will."
Johnson will make his first foreign trip as prime minister this week, meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday.
When asked what his visit later this week to Berlin and Paris would achieve, Johnson said: "I hope that they will compromise - they have seen that the UK parliament has three times rejected the Withdrawal Agreement, the backstop just doesn't work, it is not democratic. I hope they will see fit to compromise."
"I want a deal, we are ready to work with our friends and partners to get a deal but if you want a good deal for the UK you must simultaneously get ready to come out without one," Johnson said.
The European Commission, however, says the EU is ready for a no-deal Brexit and Britain will suffer most under such a scenario.
Speaking at a regular daily briefing on Monday, Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said a no-deal UK exit would never be the EU's preferred scenario, adding that the Brussels-based executive saw no need for additional contingency preparations at this stage.
"This will obviously cause significant disruption both for citizens and for businesses and this will have a serious negative economic impact," Bertaud said of any abrupt split.
"That would be proportionally much greater in the United Kingdom than it would be in the EU 27 states."
She cited Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as having said that if it came to a no-deal Brexit "it is the British who will unfortunately be the biggest losers".
The Prime Minister's comments came as Labour called for Britain's parliament to be recalled immediately to discuss Brexit.
The Labour Party's finance spokesman John McDonnell made the call after leaked official documents forecast possible food, fuel, and medicine shortages.
McDonnell, the Labour Party's second most powerful man, said that the looming crisis demanded parliament's summer break be brought to an early end.
"There's a need now to bring MPs (members of parliament) back together again because we need time now to really have a proper debate and discussion about this," McDonnell, a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, told BBC radio.
His comments add weight to a demand made on Sunday, signed by more than 100 lawmakers, to recall parliament to discuss what they called a "national emergency".
Parliament is currently not due to sit until September 3, when it will reconvene for a short session before breaking up again to allow for annual party conferences. Lawmakers are already fretting that they do not have enough time to try to stop a no-deal Brexit.
Labour, which is opposed to a no-deal exit, wants to bring down Johnson's government and form its own emergency coalition under Corbyn's leadership to delay Brexit.
Lawmakers from other parties have dismissed the possibility of Corbyn, a veteran leftist, leading any so-called 'Government of National Unity', preferring either someone else to do the job or else to focus on other parliamentary procedures to block a no-deal.
"I don't see how he (Corbyn) could lead a government of national unity," Dominic Grieve, a rebel lawmaker from Johnson's ruling Conservative Party, told the BBC, adding that other people could lead such a government.
"But I am perfectly prepared to cooperate with him (Corbyn) and indeed with anybody else in the House of Commons to make sure that no-deal, which is being threatened by the current government, doesn't happen," Grieve said.
McDonnell said there was a majority in parliament committed to stopping a no-deal exit, and that Corbyn would meet rival leaders next week to discuss the best approach to doing so.
Johnson's ministers, including Michael Gove, played down the leaked no-deal assessment, saying the document was old and did not reflect the increased funding and planning that the prime minister has undertaken since he took office last month.
They accuse Labour and others who are opposed to a no-deal Brexit of undermining negotiations with the EU, saying that EU leaders will wait to see if parliament can block such an outcome before deciding whether to renegotiate the deal.
© AAP 2019