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British PM headed to Germany, France to negotiate EU exit

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Pro-exit protesters campaign outside the Houses of Parliament in London on April 3. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Pro-exit protesters campaign outside the Houses of Parliament in London on April 3. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with French and German leaders this week to negotiate a plan so Britain can leave the European Union with a deal in place before the Oct. 31 deadline.

Johnson is expected to inform German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that Britain will leave the EU without an agreement, if necessary. He will meet Merkel Wednesday and Macron Thursday.

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The trips will be Johnson's first overseas since succeeding Theresa May as British prime minister. May failed three times to get an EU-approved deal past Parliament and Johnson took over with a firm stance that Britain would be gone by the deadline one way or another.

An internal memo, leaked over the weekend, detailed "dire" consequences if Britain leaves without a trade agreement. "Operation Yellowhammer," a code name for the government's contingency plan without a deal, warns of a three-month "meltdown" at British ports that could lead to shortages of food, fuel and medicine. There would also be a hard border with Ireland and mass protests would result, it said. It also said two oil refineries could "inadvertently" shut down.

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The British Treasury report was initially presented to leaders on Aug. 1, and new assessment is expected in the coming weeks.

Government minister Michael Gove, who's in charge of exit planning, said the report warns of the "absolutely the worst-case scenario."

Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Johnson's Conservative Party has "failed" and said a "change of direction" is needed through a new election. He's threatened to call for a vote of no-confidence.

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If the party lost a vote of no confidence, it could lose its hold on Parliament and force Johnson to resign.

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