Liz Truss has said she doesn’t know Boris Johnson’s game plan to legally exit the EU without a deal if Withdrawal Agreement negotiations fail – and neither does the cabinet.
?'I don't know the precise details of exactly what we will do, and even if I did I wouldn't tell you'— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) October 2, 2019
The moment International Trade Secretary Liz Truss tells @EmmaBarnett she doesn't know how the UK will legally achieve a No Deal Brexit
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The international trade secretary made the astonishing admission on BBC Five Live in an interview that was otherwise mostly repeating government catchphrases.
The prime minister has offered another, ‘final’ Brexit proposal to the EU that still involves matters that have long crossed the bloc’s red lines, including customs checks at the Irish land border.
With No.10 saying that the UK will not return for negotiations after this plan is examined, a refusal of the offer would mean the prime minister is obliged by the Benn Act to seek an extension to Article 50.
But Johnson has repeatedly stuck to his “do or die” plan to “get Brexit done” by October 31.
All this had to be patiently explained by Emma Barnett to senior cabinet member Liz Truss, who admitted that not only does she have any idea how Johnson will achieve this without breaking the law, neither has the cabinet been briefed.
“It’s ultimately the responsibility of the prime minister to negotiate with the EU,” she began.
But interviewer Emma Barnett asked how Johnson will manage to avoid breaking the law if the last-ditch plan is not agreed.
“Well, Boris Johnson will not ask for an extension,” said Truss. Pressed on the question, she said: “We’ll leave without a deal. That’s clear. Deal or no deal, we’re leaving on the 31st.”
Barnet asked: “Boris Johnson has also said he won’t break the law. So I just wanted to know, have you been told as a cabinet how you will do it?”
The answer: a flat “no”.
A flabbergasted Barnett pointed out that there’s just 29 days before the Brexit deadline.
“What I’m saying to you Emma is that this is an absolute priority of the prime minister to leave on October 31,” said Truss. “Am I going to speculate about our internal strategy on national broadcast? No I’m not.”
“But you don’t even know it,” said Barnett in a tone of wonder.
“I don’t know the precise details of exactly what we will do, and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you,” said Truss.