Queen Elizabeth ‘helped Boris Johnson break Brexit impasse’ – new book

Queen Elizabeth was instrumental in helping Boris Johnson manoeuvre towards a Brexit deal back in 2019, a new book has claimed. In Johnson at 10, historian Anthony Seldon writes that Queen Elizabeth “delicately planted” the idea of appealing to the Irish leader Leo Varadkar to break a deadlock in negotiations at the time in a bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

The appeal resulted in a summit that was the turning point for talks between the EU and Westminster.

In the end, a compromise deal over Northern Ireland was struck which led to the ratification of the withdrawal agreement.

In September 2019, Johnson decided he needed to chase after a deal with the EU but was receiving “animosity” from the EU leaders regarding a possible compromise, Seldon recounts.

He adds how the Queen persuaded Johnson, on his trip to Balmoral, to contact Varadkar to potentially use him as a deal broker.

Seldon wrote: “After a private walk with the Queen he suggested to officials that she had delicately planted, without saying so explicitly, the idea of talking to Varadkar to solve the impasse.”

The two leaders had a phone call, during which Varadkar said the taoiseach was willing to listen to Johnson and agreed to have a summit in October 2019, Seldon added.

They ended up meeting in Thornton Manor Hotel in the Wirral for a 90-minute conversation that resulted in an agreement.

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Seldon’s book also describes how Boris Johnson was close to giving the Queen Covid during a weekly audience.

He adds: “Johnson was very eager not to be restricted by the new laws or his apparent symptoms, to the dismay of palace officials deeply concerned at the risk of exposing the elderly Queen to the virus.

“After some convincing, both from the Palace and Cummings, Johnson acquiesced and agreed to hold the conversation remotely by phone.”

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