The Spectator received what it says is an unofficial briefing on the state of Brexit talks on Tuesday, with the anonymous telegram style commentary threatening that the UK would freeze cooperation with any EU members which supported another Brexit extension.
“We will make clear privately and publicly that countries which oppose delay will go [to] the front of the queue for future cooperation – cooperation on things both within and outside EU competences. Those who support delay will go to the bottom of the queue…Supporting delay will be seen by this government as hostile interference in domestic politics, and over half of the public will agree with us,” the statement, whose authenticity has yet to be verified, noted.
The memo promised that London would “make clear that this government will not negotiate further so any delay would be totally pointless…We’ll either leave with no deal on 31 October or there will be an election and then we will leave with no deal,” the statement added.
The memo also accused Irish leader Leo Varadkar of not wanting to negotiate on the Ireland-Northern Ireland border issue, a major stumbling block in the ongoing talks, charging Dublin of looking to “gamble on a second referendum” and of lobbying EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to “stick to the line that the UK cannot leave the EU without leaving Northern Ireland behind.”
“Ireland and Brussels listen to all the people who lost the referendum, they don’t listen to those who won the referendum and they don’t understand the electoral dynamics here,” the memo said, warning that No 10 would not support any further delay, and that “everything to do with ‘duty of sincere cooperation’ will be in the toilet” if Brussels, parliament and the courts sought to overturn the government’s efforts.
“We will focus on winning the election on a manifesto of immediately revoking the entire EU legal order without further talks, and then we will leave. Those who supported delay will face the inevitable consequences of being seen to interfere in domestic politics in a deeply unpopular way by colluding with a Parliament that is as popular as the clap,” the source added.
No 10 has yet to comment on the authenticity of the memo.
Later Tuesday, MP Amber Rudd, who resigned from Prime Minister Johnson's cabinet as secretary for work and pensions last month, alleged that senior Johnson advisor Dominic Cummings had written the memo, telling BBC Radio 4 that the memo “sounds angry and desperate and the language that is used I do not believe should be the language of a UK government.” According to Rudd, No 10’s lack of denial implies that the memo is genuine.
Johnson has repeatedly said that his government has no plans to request another delay to the UK’s exit from the European Union amid the ongoing deadlock in Brexit talks. Johnson has promised that the UK would leave the bloc, deal or no deal, by 31 October.