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“I still hope that Prime Minister Johnson will not like to go down in history as ‘Mr No Deal’.”

Speaking as he does from an institution which routinely misunderstands the UK, and Leavers in particular, Donald Tusk was at least half right in this assessment yesterday. And half right is an improvement on condemning Leavers to ‘a special place in hell’, as he once did.

Boris Johnson has no particular desire “to go down in history as ‘Mr No Deal'”. Indeed, he would like a deal if a decent and doable one is available – as he reiterated in response to Tusk’s comments.

But it seems that the EU Commission is again misjudging the moment, and the priorities of its interlocutor. ‘Mr No Deal’ might not be the Prime Minister’s ideal epitaph, but Tusk appears to have forgotten that for a Leave-supporting British leader there is a worse – far worse – thing to go down in history as. And forcing a choice between the two can only lead to one answer.

Rather Mr No Deal than Mr No Brexit.

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