"Because shortly after the call ended a statement came out from Number 10 Downing Street saying that Merkel said 'if Germany wanted to leave the European Union they could do it no problem". Downing Street said a Brexit deal was "essentially impossible" and Irish leader Leo Varadkar said a deal before 31 October would be "very hard".
Options trading points to greater optimism that a no-deal Brexit will be averted this month, with a gauge of sentiment for the next week headed for the most positive close in four months. Mr Johnson's official spokesman also declined to say anything about the substance of the call.
Asked to clarify whether some form of "arrangements" in effect meant a customs check, he said: "Well, we have to engage and we're working with the European commission on what those things could be that will give confidence regarding the future of our economy". Otherwise, the United Kingdom will leave the bloc without a deal.
The report triggered a furious response from European Council President Donald Tusk who slammed Mr Johnson for playing a "stupid blame game" and "risking the future of the United Kingdom and Europe". "You don't want a deal, you don't want an extension, you don't want to revoke, quo vadis?" he asked.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a fresh rebellion in his cabinet, with a group of ministers poised to resign due to concerns that he is leading the country towards a no-deal Brexit, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar spoke to Mr Johnson on the phone for 45 minutes, and told broadcaster RTE it would be "very difficult" to reach an agreement before the end of the month. Johnson may have hoped that the European Union was desperate enough to avoid the damage from a no-deal Brexit that they'd glumly accept his ultimatum.
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It would take Northern Ireland out of the EU's customs union but keep it largely aligned with the bloc's "single market" standards and regulations. The EU, however, has committed to Ireland that they will protect the GFA and the open border on the island. Merkel said that the Prime Minister should tell northern Ireland that it must stay in full alignment forever, but that even this would not eliminate customs issues.
Although Mr Johnson's Brexit negotiators were still meeting various European officials, much of the focus is shifting to what happens after the talks are formally pronounced dead. "His strategy from day one has been for a no-deal Brexit", said Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the main opposition Labour Party.
The plan published Tuesday detailed what the government has done to try and avoid those worst-case scenarios - many of which had been previously discussed. The government says those plans will minimize any resulting economic shock. But the government acknowledges there will be new tariffs on 60 per cent of British exports to the European Union, including levies of more than 50 per cent on beef and lamb. "We'll either leave with no deal on 31 October or there will be an election and then we will leave with no deal".
Johnson, who once said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than seek a Brexit extension - submitted new plans last week in place of an agreement his predecessor Theresa May struck with Brussels in late 2018.
MPs are heading for a Brexit showdown as they will be called to sit for a special parliamentary session on Saturday 19 October - less than two weeks before Britain's scheduled departure from the EU.