Former Foreign Office official David Frost held meetings with officials today PM wants EU to agree to renegotiate key elements of the Brexit divorce deal Otherwise the UK will leave without a deal on October 31 if it has to Boris Johnson’s top Europe adviser was sent to Brussels today to tell Eurocrats in person that Brexit was happening on October 31 whether they like it or not.
Boris Johnson sends new envoy David Frost to Brussels ‘to pass on the Prime Minister’s message in person’ that the UK is leaving the EU on October 31 with or without a Brexit deal Former Foreign Office official David Frost held meetings with officials today PM wants EU to agree to renegotiate key elements of the Brexit divorce deal Otherwise the UK will leave without a deal on October 31 if it has to By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline Published: 13:57 EDT, 31 July 2019 | Updated: 05:03 EDT, 1 August 2019 Boris Johnson ‘s top Europe adviser was sent to Brussels today to tell Eurocrats in person that Brexit was happening on October 31 whether they like it or not.
David Frost, a former Foreign Office official who has been appointed the so-called ‘sherpa’ to the European Union, held meetings with officials on his first visit to Belgium in his new role.
Mr Johnson is demanding the EU drop its resistance to renegotiating key elements of the Brexit divorce deal struck last year with his predecessor Theresa May – or face the prospect of Britain’s disorderly departure from the bloc on October 31.
The Prime Minister has refused to meet EU leaders face to face until they agree to remove the Irish border backstop fro the Withdrawal Agreement.
‘In his role as the prime minister’s Europe adviser, David Frost is visiting Brussels to have introductory meetings with key officials and to pass on the prime minister’s message in person,’ a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
‘The UK is leaving the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances.
Mr Frost (pictured centre with then PM David Cameron at Downing Street while head of the British Chamber of Commerce) has spent today meeting bureaucrats on behalf of the Prime Minister
Mr Johnson (pictured left today in Downing Street) appointed Mr Frost to replace Olly Robbins (right), Theresa May’s Europe envoy who was widely disliked by Brexiteers
‘We will work energetically for a deal but the backstop must be abolished,’ she added, referring to a controversial measure in the withdrawal agreement aimed at keeping the Irish border open in all post-Brexit scenarios.
European leaders have insisted the withdrawal agreement, which sets out the terms of Britain’s departure after 46 years of membership, is closed.
But they are willing to reopen discussions on the future relationship contained in a ‘political declaration’ accompanying the deal.
Frost, who left a prior role as chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, replaces May’s top EU adviser Olly Robbins.
Robbins drew repeated criticism from ardent Brexiteers for being too sympathetic to the bloc in the Brexit negotiations.
Meanwhile Johnson on Wednesday met political leaders in Northern Ireland, which has become the focus of increasingly tense rhetoric on both sides of the Irish Sea over Brexit, hoping to build support for his new approach.
The Prime Minister warned he will ‘never be neutral on the Union’ as he clashed with Sinn Fein in tense talks at Stormont today.
During a gruelling first visit to Northern Ireland as PM, he pledged to honour the ‘letter and spirit’ of the Good Friday Agreement as he pushes through the UK’s departure from the EU.
After the talks, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald (pictured) said Mr Johnson was ‘complacent’ about the risk his Brexit policy posed to peace
However, Mr Johnson had to face down fury from republicans after again insisting that Brexit must happen by the end of October ‘come what may’.
Speaking after her discussions with the premier in Belfast, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said he viewed the island of Ireland as ‘collateral damage’ and warned that a referendum on reunification was looming.
Meanwhile, Irish PM Leo Varadkar has warned that he will not be ‘bullied’ by the UK’s demands to ditch the hated backstop.
But DUP leader Arlene Foster insisted Dublin must ‘dial down the rhetoric’ in order to get progress in negotiations. She also revealed that Mr Johnson had insisted during the talks that he would ‘never be neutral on the Union’.
Mr Johnson held four hours of talks with the province’s political leaders at Stormont as he tried to break the deadlock that has crashed powersharing.