BORIS Johnson has warned Brexit will not be delayed beyond October 31 as he urged European leaders to “accept our outstretched hand” and negotiate. 

The warning came as French president Emmanuel Macron last night gave the prime minister until the end of the week to overhaul his latest proposals.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, also poured cold water on the chances of an agreement being reached.

Mr Barnier told an event in Paris: “If they do not change, I do not believe – on the basis of the mandate I have been given by the EU27 – that we can advance.”

He stressed a no-deal Brexit “would always be the UK’s choice, not ours”.
Mr Johnson spent the weekend talking to EU leaders, including Mr Macron and Portugal’s Antonio Costa, and is thought likely to travel to the Continent later this week.

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During his call with Mr Macron yesterday, the Prime Minister was said to have made clear that it was the final opportunity to secure a deal.
He told his French counterpart he wanted to reach an agreement, and that his new proposals commanded the support of MPs.

A senior Number 10 source later warned that the so-called Benn Act – legislation passed by MPs last month which compels the Prime Minister to ask for another Brexit delay if no agreement has been reached by October 19 – would not prevent a no-deal exit.

The source said: “This is the chance to get a deal done – a deal that is backed by parliamentarians.

“The UK has made a big, important offer but it’s time for the Commission to show a willingness to compromise too. If not, the UK will leave with no deal.
“The surrender act and its authors are undermining negotiations, but if EU leaders are betting that it will prevent no-deal, that would be a historic misunderstanding.”

After the call, an official at Paris’s Elysee Palace told The Guardian newspaper: “Boris Johnson presented his latest proposals. 

The president told him that the negotiations should continue swiftly with Michel Barnier’s team in coming days in order to evaluate at the end of the week whether a deal is possible that respects European Union principles.”

Over the weekend, Mr Johnson urged European leaders to “grasp the opportunity” presented by his new proposals. 

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, he said: “We will be packing our bags and walking out on October 31. The only question is whether Brussels cheerily waves us off with a mutually agreeable deal, or whether we will be forced to head off on our own.”

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He described his Brexit plans – which would take Northern Ireland out of the EU’s customs union while continuing to apply EU rules on agricultural and other products – as “a practical compromise”.

He added: “So I say to our European friends: grasp the opportunity our new proposal provides. Join us at the negotiating table in a spirit of compromise and co-operation. And let’s make Brexit work for both sides.

“We are leaving in 25 days. We can do it with a deal if the EU is willing. But they should be under no illusions or misapprehensions. There will be no more dither or delay. On October 31 we are going to get Brexit done.”

The prime minister described Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a “serial wannabe Brexit-wrecker” but said he has been encouraged to discover not all MPs are “so recalcitrant” in backing his proposals. 

He wrote: “MPs from every wing of my own Conservative Party, from Northern Ireland’s DUP, even from Jeremy Corbyn’s own ranks, have said that our proposed deal looks like one they can get behind.”

Mr Corbyn will today meet the leaders of the other opposition parties to scrutinise Mr Johnson’s Brexit proposals and decide the next steps to “hold the Government to account, and to ensure the Prime Minister adheres to the law in seeking an extension if no deal is reached by 19 October”.

Yesterday, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said the Government wanted to get into “intensive negotiations” with Brussels. 

He said discussions were taking place with opposition MPs to win support for Mr Johnson’s blueprint. He also appeared to confirm the UK Government would send a letter to the EU requesting a Brexit delay if a deal has not been agreed by October 19. 

Elsewhere, Irish premier Leo Varadkar gave a glimmer of hope to Mr Johnson as he said a deal could be secured in the next two weeks, but warned the current proposals do not form the basis for “deeper negotiations”.