Germany expects the UK to crash out of the EU under a No Deal Brexit on Halloween because Brussels will not cave in to Boris Johnson's demands for a new Withdrawal Agreement, leaked documents revealed today.
Berlin is factoring in a British departure from the bloc on October 31 without a deal in place on their future relations, saying a disorderly Brexit was now 'highly likely'.
A Handelsblatt business newspaper report, citing a finance ministry document, said Brussels would refuse to agree to the Prime Minister's core demand that the customs backstop plan in the current Withdrawal Agreement, disappear before it can be signed.
The facility was agreed by Theresa May with the EU in November but was later rejected three times by MPs in the Commons.
The document said that Berlin did not expect Mr Johnson to back down on his demand, leading the way to a No Deal Brexit.
A German government spokesman later said that an orderly Brexit was 'preferable' and remained the policy of Angela Merkel's administration, because No Deal was in no one's interest.
Mr Johnson's administration has made a tougher approach to EU negotiations one of the central themes of its first weeks in Downing Street.
The report counters the claims from Westminster sources that a new deal is possible.
Mr Johnson and the EU are locked in a state of Brexit stalemate over the Irish border backstop with the Prime Minister adamant he will not agree to a deal which includes the controversial protocol.
But with the EU equally immovable in its insistence that the current divorce deal cannot be renegotiated and that inclusion of the backstop is non-negotiable a No Deal split appears a growing possibility.
However, many in the government are increasingly confident that Mr Johnson's 'do or die' pledge to deliver Brexit with or without a deal by October 31 has hit home hard in Brussels.
They now believe the EU, faced with the prospect of a chaotic split on Halloween which would do significant damage to the Irish economy, will ultimately buckle.
Efforts to counter Mr Johnson's hardline approach collapsed into acrimony today.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn lashed out at his Liberal Democrat counterpart Jo Swinson after she rejected his plan to lead an emergency government to thwart a no-deal Brexit.
He said that 'it's not up to Jo Swinson to decide who the next prime minister is going to be' after she swiftly dismissed his proposal to force a general election as 'nonsense'.
Ms Swinson is coming under increasing pressure to back Mr Corbyn's suggestion, which includes forcing out Boris Johnson in a vote of no confidence and securing an extension to the Brexit deadline beyond October 31.