Liz Truss has no idea how UK will legally achieve a no deal Brexit
- Credit: BBC
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.
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.
You may also want to watch:
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.
- 1 Brexit regret: Meet the Leave voters who wish they hadn't voted Leave
- 2 Labour leader defends NHS after being kicked out of pub in Bath
- 3 Opposition parties push for probe into Boris Johnson's conduct following viral video
- 4 ‘I should not have listened to Cameron’ – Former European Commission president
- 5 Scottish Tory leader accused of 'nonsense' excuse for Boris Johnson avoiding Scotland
- 6 A chapter is over for Britain, for good or ill
- 7 New research reveals half of Brexit supporters were not 'left behind' red-wall voters
- 8 Welsh government refused permission for legal challenge over post-Brexit bill
- 9 Russell Kane: Why working class people like Boris Johnson
- 10 Annalena Baerbock: Can the Queen of Green seize the Bundestag?
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.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.