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Underfire PM calls up Hulk, claims ‘huge’ Brexit progress

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a press conference on the steps of the Government buildings in Dublin on September 9, 2019. - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday that the European Union had not received from Britain any alternatives to the so-called backstop provision in the Brexit divorce deal. (Photo by Lorraine O'SULLIVAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LORRAINE O'SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted Sunday that “huge” progress was being made in Brexit talks and declared Britain would break out of the European Union just like the comic book hero “The Incredible Hulk”.

The Conservative leader made the comments ahead of meetings with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Luxembourg on Monday.

Johnson told the Mail on Sunday newspaper he was “very confident” of getting a divorce deal at an EU summit on October 17, in time for Brexit on October 31.

In an odd analogy, he compared Britain to the Marvel Comics character Hulk — the destructive alter ego of scientist Bruce Banner who turns into the ferocious green giant when enraged or stressed.

“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets and he always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be — and that is the case for this country,” he said.

But Johnson is facing strong opposition in parliament to his threat to leave the EU without a deal on October 31 if his negotiations fail

Many of the rebels are on his own side and on Saturday night, one of his Conservative MPs defected to the pro-European Liberal Democrats.

Former universities minister Sam Gyimah, who briefly ran against Johnson for the party leadership this summer, condemned him for “veering towards populism”.

The Lib Dems, who now have 18 MPs in the 650-seat House of Commons, on Sunday voted at their party conference to reverse Brexit if they ever won a majority in parliament.

Elsewhere, former prime minister David Cameron, who led the failed campaign to stay in the EU in 2016, accused Johnson in his memoirs of only pursuing Brexit out of political ambition.

The turmoil comes ahead of another crucial week, as the Supreme Court considers the legality of Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament earlier this month until October 14.

– Hulk was a ‘winner’ –

Johnson was a leading “Leave” campaigner in the referendum, and took office in July promising to deliver Brexit no matter what.

He wants to renegotiate the terms struck by his predecessor Theresa May, which MPs have rejected, but EU leaders have so far refused.

Johnson repeated that “under no circumstances” would he delay Brexit.

AFP

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