Boris Johnson's office says Brexit deal 'essentially impossible', blames Angela Merkel

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was urged not to press ahead with his plans for big tax cuts

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted testily that "what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game".

As the clock ticks down to the October 31 departure date, Brexit descended into a public row between London and Brussels this week as both sides position for another delay followed by an election in Britain or an acrimonious divorce.

Unusually, Downing Street then provided a readout of what Merkel reportedly said, provoking an incendiary tweet from EU Council President Donald Tusk.

On Tuesday, Downing Street sources broke diplomatic protocol by leaking details of a private conversation between Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

European Union leaders have dismissed the plan as the basis for a settlement as it would mean the return of customs checks on the island of Ireland, albeit taking place well away from the border between the North and the Republic.

The Downing Street official quoted Merkel as saying that a deal now looked "overwhelmingly unlikely", and added that the Brexit talks were "close to breaking down".

However there was said to be surprise among diplomats in Brussels at Mrs Merkel's reported comments, as she has consistently stressed her commitment to achieving a deal.

"At stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom as well as the security and interests of our people", Mr Tusk said.

An alliance of rebels in Johnson's Conservative Party and opposition lawmakers voted through a law, known as the Benn Act, last month which requires him to ask for a Brexit delay if there is no deal in place by October 19.

As we write, the United Kingdom government is said to be dismissive of the idea as it says that it will not accept any Irish backstop, even if it comes with a time limit attached.

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They said they would revisit the decision if Johnson did not ask for the extension.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank, however, warned that "even a relatively benign no-deal Brexit" would see Britain's debt burden surge to 50-year highs.

However, it warned that without further action by European Union authorities, "some disruption to cross-border financial services in the event of a no-deal Brexit is possible".

After presenting them, government sources hoped the sides might be able to enter an intense 10-day period of talks nearly immediately, but a number of senior European Union figures, including Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, warned they did not form the basis for deeper negotiations - even if they believed a deal could still be done.

'If this represents a new established position, then it is a deal that is essentially impossible.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Ireland wanted a Brexit deal but "not at any cost".

Johnson, who took over as PM from Theresa May in July, has been accused of political manoeuvring before calling a snap general election to strengthen his position in parliament.

They said: 'We will make clear privately and publicly that countries which oppose delay will go to the front of the queue for future cooperation.

In Scotland, a fresh legal case was being heard on Tuesday under little-used "Nobile Officium" legislation - known as "Nob-Off" proceedings - in which petitioners are asking that a court send the Brexit delay request to the European Union if Johnson refuses.

He's reiterated this place despite MPs passing laws which compels him to require a third Brexit delay when a deal isn't struck before October 19.

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