-Time is ticking for no-deal Brexit
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell EU leaders of the need for a new Brexit deal when he makes his first trip abroad as the PM later this week, according to the BBC. Johnson made a proposition to cancel the Irish border backstop, however, EU leaders firmly rejected this offer. It seems likely that with the possibility of a no-deal increasing, Johnson is readying for another attempt to get back at the negotiation table to tackle this obstacle. However, the leaked government document reported by the Sunday Times on Monday will make his job even harder. The document outlines that the U.K. might face shortages in food, medicine and fuel in a no-deal scenario. The document says the cross-government paper on preparations for a no-deal Brexit, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer, reveals the U.K. could face months of disruption at its ports, the BBC reported.
Nonetheless, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to support Johnson and this was echoed in the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on Wednesday when he said, “the U.S. will rapidly seek a new free trade deal with London after the United Kingdom formally exits the European Union.”
"We support the United Kingdom's sovereign choice, however, when Brexit ultimately shakes out, and we'll be on the doorstep, pen in hand, ready to sign a new free trade agreement at the earliest possible time," Pompeo said while hosting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the State Department.
Raab later said the recently-seated British Prime Minister is "resolved" to leave the EU by the end of October, but added that the U.K. would remain "good friends, and good neighbors" with Europe. He stressed that the British government wants to broker a free trade agreement with the U.S. "as soon as possible" after the exit.
In the two weeks since Johnson took office, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit has markedly risen. Johnson has said he prefers to leave the EU with an agreement but that a new withdrawal deal must not include the Irish backstop, and that the U.K. would leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without an agreement.
The backstop is a safety measure that ensures open borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal.
The EU has repeatedly stated that the withdrawal agreement signed by Johnson’s predecessor would not be re-opened for negotiation and the Irish backstop was an insurance policy that Brussels could not eliminate. Johnson has said that a no-deal Brexit would be the fault of the EU.