The clash began when the BBC host asked Mr Berry to explain what the Government will do should he be forced to ask for a Brexit extension whilst still pledging to take the UK out of the EU on October 31, should he fail to get a deal. Mr Berry replied: “There’s a lot of ifs there. If you don’t get a deal; if the European Union gives you an extension; if Parliament doesn’t agree to leave with no deal; if we don’t continue our negotiations.
“There are so many ifs. I don’t intend to speculate.”
Insistent on getting a response from the Tory minister, Ms Coburn asked again: “It’s not speculation, you have just said that the Government has said they’re going to leave on October 31.
“If you don’t get a deal, how can that happen?
“How can it happen?”
Stunned by the Tory MP’s claim that “the legal default position is that we leave on the 31st of October”, the BBC host rebutted: “The legal position is that you ask for an extension.”
But the Northern Powerhouse minister snapped back: “No, no. The legal default position is that we leave on the 31st of October.
“That is the law. You’ve asked me repeatedly if the Government will comply with the law.
“It is the law of this land that we leave on the 31st of October.”
Mr Berry also confirmed the Prime Minister will comply with the Benn Act which forces the Government to ask for an extension to Article 50 but refused to explain how that will not prevent Boris Johnson from keeping his Brexit promise.
The clash comes as talks between the UK and the EU have once again come to a standstill after Brussels refused to accept Boris Johnson’s latest proposals.
The Prime Minister’s plan envisaged Northern Ireland to remain in the EU single market but leave the bloc’s customs union in an attempt to replace the controversial backstop protocol agreed between former Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU.
Mr Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week held a phone call over the blueprint.
A source has said that Ms Merkel has made it clear that a deal based on Mr Johnson’s proposals is now “overwhelmingly unlikely”.
But Ms Merkel’s office has said it will not comment on “private” conversations.
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The BBC’s Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming has said there was “scepticism” within the EU that Ms Merkel would have used that kind of language.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk sent a warning on Twitter to Mr Johnson yesterday which said the UK is playing a “stupid blame game”.
He also said the future of the EU and the UK is currently at stake.
He wrote: “Boris Johnson, what’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game.
“At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people.
“You don’t want a deal, you don’t want an extension, you don’t want to revoke, quo vadis?”
With reaching a deal by October 31 looking more and more unlikely, Mr Johnson and the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have said they hope to meet again later in the week.