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Boris Johnson tells MPs it is their job to get Brexit done

Boris Johnson has told MPs it is their job to get Brexit done, as the prime minister said he was “marginally more optimistic” about striking a new deal with the EU.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, cast doubt on the chances of Britain and the EU avoiding a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson’s first international gathering since entering Downing Street saw him hold his first face-to-face talks with the US president as PM.

Johnson speaks to Sky News at G7 summit

While issues like Iran, climate change, Hong Kong and the Amazon wildfires were top of the overall agenda at the G7 summit in France, Brexit was not too far from the minds of many of the leaders gathering in Biarritz.

As opposition MPs gear up to try and stop Mr Johnson potentially taking Britain out of the EU without a deal, the PM was asked multiple times what he will do if parliament moves to frustrate his promise to deliver Brexit come what may on 31 October.

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Once again, Mr Johnson refused to rule out suspending parliament in order to stop MPs preventing a no-deal Brexit.

It comes ahead of a meeting involving Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and opposition MPs on Tuesday to discuss tactics to avoid a no-deal divorce.

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In response to a question from Sky News political editor Beth Rigby, the PM said: “I think that it’s the job of everybody in parliament to get this thing done.

“I think it’s what the people want, I also think it’s what our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel want. They want this thing done, they want it over.

“You talk to our friends as I have done in the last few weeks and they are very enthusiastic about getting on with the future.

“They regard Brexit now as an encumbrance, an old argument. They want to talk about the new partnership that we’re going to build.”

PM: ‘Chances of Brexit deal improving’

When asked about the chances of a deal being struck, the PM said: “I am marginally more optimistic.”

However, Mr Johnson repeated his claim that it would be down to Brussels whether this happens.

He said: “All statistical estimates that I give about the chances of a deal – whether they are expressed in odds of millions to one, or getting closer, or hotter or colder, or whatever – they all depend exclusively on the willingness of our friends and partners to compromise on that crucial point and to get rid of the backstop and the current withdrawal agreement.”

The backstop is designed to avoid the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland, but the PM has said it is the major stumbling block to getting a deal approved by MPs.

Johnson and Tusk meet after war of words on no-deal and backstop

It comes after the PM told Sky News on Sunday that the chances of a deal were “improving” now that his messages on the £39bn divorce bill and backstop have “landed” with EU leaders.

Mr Trump appeared to be more pessimistic, telling his end of summit news conference: “They may have to get out, they may not make a deal.

“The European Union is very tough to make deals with – just ask Theresa May.”

Mrs May resigned as PM in July after trying – and failing – three times to get the deal she negotiated with Brussels passed by MPs.

The US president said Mr Johnson would make a “great” PM and it was the “right time for Boris”.

Trump ‘waited six years’ for Johnson to become PM

He added: “We really like each other. And we had a great two-and-a-half days.

“I have been waiting for him to be prime minister for about six years. I told him, ‘what took you so long?'”

Responding to Mr Trump’s comments, Mr Johnson said that while the EU were tough negotiators “that doesn’t mean we won’t do a deal”.

“It will be difficult, there is a substantial disagreement but my job is to make our case,” he said.

As well as meeting Mr Trump, the PM used the summit to hold his first face-to-face discussions with a number of leaders and to try and advance talks on potential post-Brexit free trade deals.

Image: Donald Trump again praised the PM

Australian leader Scott Morrison suggested an accord between the two nations could be done within a year.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe committed to pursuing an “ambitious free trade agreement” after Brexit, building on the current agreement with the EU.

Number 10 also said that the PM’s talks with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el Sisi focused on the pair’s “shared desire to strengthen economic, trade and security cooperation”.

Mr Johnson said there were “big, big opportunities” from a US-UK deal.

But he said he would prefer to have a “comprehensive” accord, as opposed to quicker but smaller deals focusing just on areas like goods, agriculture and food products.

SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnson-tells-mps-it-is-their-job-to-get-brexit-done-11794920

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