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Angela Merkel will retaliate against Boris Johnson’s plans to break international law over the Brexit withdrawal agreement, according to Gordon Brown. The former Prime Minister said that Angela Merkel will double down on the EU’s hardline stance, rather than compromise with Britain. There had been initial hopes this month that the German Chancellor would step in to replace Michel Barnier and help secure EU compromises for a trade deal with the UK.
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However, Gordon Brown claims that Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit gamble backfired and has left the EU enraged.
Mr Brown told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “This is all part of a strategy that is going wrong on the part of the Government.
“They think they will have a European Council Meeting on October 16, that they can persuade Angela Merkel to step in instead of Michel Barnier.
“They think they can tie up a deal because people will be desperate by then.”
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However, the former Labour Prime Minister said that this tactic from Boris Johnson “will not work”.
He explained: “Angela Merkel will probably be even more adamant to stick to the rule of law and what I fear is that we will get a deal, but it will be a minimalist deal.
“It will be no tariffs now but if you break the level playing field, or in other words have an American Treaty that breaks all the single market rules, we will intervene as a European Union, so it doesn’t bode well for the UK.”
Mr Brown accused British ministers of a “huge act of self harm” over their plans to break international law by rewriting the Brexit withdrawal deal.
He also raised concerns that Britain could be trapped “in battle with the EU for years ahead”.
Tensions flared between the EU and the UK this week after Boris Johnson unveiled legislation that would breach the withdrawal deal.
Despite emergency talks between the two sides, the UK Government has rejected EU demands to scrap the legislation that Brussels deems a “clear breach”.
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At the same time, Boris Johnson is facing growing unrest among Tory MPs deeply unhappy at the threat to undermine Britain’s traditional support for the international rule of law.
The former chancellor Lord Lamont said the Government was in a “terrible mess” and warned the UK Internal Market Bill would not get through the Lords in its present form.
In the Commons, senior Conservatives are tabling an amendment to the Bill which they said would limit the powers it gave to ministers in relation to the Withdrawal Agreement.
Mr Johnson has set a deadline of October 15 for an agreement to be reached, otherwise he has said he will simply walk away from the negotiating table.
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