Boris Johnson refuses to rule out suspending Parliament to push through no-deal Brexit

  • Video report by ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston

Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out suspending Parliament in an effort to force through a no-deal Brexit, as he made his debut on the world stage at the G7 summit in France.

Mr Johnson was questioned by ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston whether he would commit to not proroguing Parliament, however the prime minister avoided the question.

Instead he repeated his demand for the backstop, the contingency plan to retain close ties with the EU to prevent a hard border with Ireland, to be scrapped.

But at the summit’s closing press conference in Biarritz, Mr Johnson said it was the job of all MPs to deliver Brexit.

“I think it’s the job of everybody in Parliament to get this thing done," he said.

“I think it’s what the people want, I also think, by the way, it’s what our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel want – they want it over."

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump warned Mr Johnson he may be unable to reach a Brexit agreement with Brussels because the EU are such tough negotiators.

Mr Trump suggested Mr Johnson could struggle to find a new deal – even though he will be a “great Prime Minister”.

“They may have to get out, they may not make a deal,” Mr Trump said.

“The European Union is very tough to make deals with – just ask Theresa May.”

Responding to Mr Trump, the Prime Minister said while the EU were tough negotiators “that doesn’t mean we won’t do a deal”.

“It will be difficult, there is a substantial disagreement but my job is to make our case.”

Mr Johnson said he was “marginally more optimistic” about the possibility of getting a deal after talks in recent days with Europe’s key players.

The prime minister has held talks in recent days with Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron and European Council chief Donald Tusk which have left him more upbeat about the prospect of reaching an agreement.

But major stumbling blocks remain, with opponents of a no-deal Brexit also mobilising in an attempt to prevent Mr Johnson meeting his pledge of leaving on October 31 come what may.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will convene a meeting of no-deal critics on Tuesday before Parliament returns from its summer recess on September 3.

Cross-party MPs are expected to sign a declaration, agreeing to set up an alternative Parliament if Mr Johnson suspends Parliament to push through a no-deal Brexit.

The prime minister used the G7 summit to hold first meetings with a range of leaders and to advance talks on potential trade deals.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Credit: PA

After meeting Mr Johnson, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested a trade deal with the UK could be done within a year.

“You’ve just got to get round the table and work it through,” he said.“I’m not going to create any arbitrary deadlines on this.”

And Mr Johnson also said there “big, big opportunities” from a trade deal with the US.

But he said he would rather have a “comprehensive deal” rather than a quicker but smaller agreements focusing simply on goods and agricultural and food products.