Brexit fury: ‘Let me answer’ MP defends PM in fiery clash with Emily Maitlis on Newsnight

3 min

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Last week, Mr Johnson submitted his Brexit proposal to the EU as the Prime Minister attempted to secure a deal for the UK. Despite Mr Johnson’s attempt, the plan has been criticised by EU leaders with President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk questioning the proposal.

Mr Tusk hit out at the Prime Minister as he warned Mr Johnson that the “future of Europe and the UK” is on the line.

Speaking on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday night, Mr Zahawi defended the UK’s latest attempts to agree a deal with the EU as he clashed with the presenter.

Questioned over the level of trust for the Prime Minister, Mr Zahawi issued a staunch defence of Mr Johnson as he labelled some of the comments surrounding the current negotiation as “hearsay”.

Responding to the host, Mr Zahawi said: “I’ve just allowed you to ask me a question if you would allow me to give you an answer.

Brexit news: MP defends Boris

Brexit news: MP defends Boris (Image: BBC)

Brexit news: Mr Zahawi clashed with Ms Maitlis

Brexit news: Mr Zahawi clashed with Ms Maitlis (Image: BBC)

“For the Irish Taoiseach to come to meet with the Prime Minister to continue the talk between the two and for Michel Barnier to meet with the Brexit Secretary to continue their talks.

“Of course we want to see further progress, and we’re disappointed that we haven’t seen further progress.

“But there has already been more progress made than has been intimated.”

Mr Johnson will meet Leo Varadkar today in order to conduct a last-ditch attempt to come to an agreement on the Irish backstop.

Brexit news: Mr Zahawi insisted that progress could be made

Brexit news: Mr Zahawi insisted that progress could be made (Image: BBC)

The Irish Prime Minister had admitted that he was willing to “examine” other options to avoid a hard border.

He added, however: “Part of the difficulty at the moment though is it is the position of the UK government that Northern Ireland must leave the EU customs union and be part of the UK customs union, no matter what the people of Northern Ireland think.

“That’s their position at the moment, and that’s the one that’s of grave difficulty to us.”

With that in mind, No 10 has repeatedly reaffirmed its position that a deal is still possible.

Brexit news: Mr Johnson will meet with Leo Varadkar

Brexit news: Mr Johnson will meet with Leo Varadkar (Image: GETTY)

Brexit news: Mr Varadkar and the Prime Minister will try to thrash out a deal

Brexit news: Mr Varadkar and the Prime Minister will try to thrash out a deal (Image: GETTY)

Such was the intent to try and get a deal over the line, that Parliament will return to sit on Saturday October 19.

If a deal is agreed, Mr Johnson will ask Parliament to approve it but if there has been no deal agreed, a range of options could be presented before the House of Commons.

Parliament is currently suspended and will not return until next Monday.

The reopening of the Commons comes just days before the crucial EU summit from October 17-18.

Brexit calendar

Brexit calendar (Image: Express)

Speaking ahead of that summit, President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli insisted that the UK will only be given a Brexit extension if it agrees to a general election or a second referendum.

Mr Sassoli, however, also admitted that he had discussed plans with outgoing Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow on Tuesday.

Mr Sassoli told the European Parliament: “I had a fruitful discussion with Speaker Bercow in which I set out my view that any request for an extension should allow the British people to give its views in a referendum or an election.”

Brexit news: Mr Varadkar

Brexit news: Mr Varadkar (Image: GETTY)

Mr Johnson has repeatedly called on the opposition parties to call on a general election.

He has so far been blocked from that desire as the Remain-backing MPs have said that they will only call a vote if delays Brexit.

According to The Sun, Jeremy Corbyn will agree to an election if Mr Johnson tables a vote on the matter on October 21.

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