Brexit key players: The seven people who will decide Europe's future after Brexit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with other G7 leaders
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with other G7 leaders
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The coming days and weeks are likely to shape the future of the country for decades to come, with a looming general election that could determine how - or even if - the country leaves the European Union.

Here The Scotsman looks at the key players in this Brexit epic and examines how their decisions could have an almighty impact on the fate of the UK.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister is mulling his options, which are to keep pressing on with his Brexit bill, in the hope of steering the UK out of the European Union, or pulling the whole thing and calling a general election.

READ MORE: Welsh Labour leader says Scotland should get second independence referendum
Downing Street has lost all faith in Parliament’s will to deliver Brexit and so an election is looking increasingly likely. Such a course of action would still be a major gamble by the PM. It could deliver a healthy majority – and, with it, a mandate – or it could risk Brexit altogether.

Jeremy Corbyn

DUP leader Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster

The Labour leader’s appetite for an early election is said to be rapidly diminishing despite his insistence that he would back one should the threat of a no-deal Brexit come off the table.

Senior Shadow Cabinet members are eager to push for a second referendum rather than an election amid fears that Labour could suffer a heavy defeat. Whatever choice he makes will be of huge importance to Brexit.

Arlene Foster

The DUP is furious with Downing Street over what it deems a betrayal in creating a border between Northern Ireland and Britain.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Ministers and officials are keen to allay the DUP’s fears over the Brexit deal after details emerged that businesses would have to fill out export declaration forms to ship goods.

Bringing the DUP leader back onside would hugely help Mr Johnson. The chances of this appear remote, however.

Nicola Sturgeon

Having secured the Brexit extension they wanted, the SNP are now gung-ho for a general election this side of Christmas and could be key allies in helping Mr Johnson to deliver one.

EU Council president Donald Tusk talks to fellow European leaders

EU Council president Donald Tusk talks to fellow European leaders

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon 'very happy' to have general election before Christmas
Ms Sturgeon is desperate to avoid an election in the spring, as former SNP leader Alex Salmond’s court case is likely to be held then and – regardless of his guilt or innocence – the trial could significantly tarnish the party’s image. Should Mr Johnson table a motion for an early election, the SNP would back it.

Donald Tusk

The President of the EU Council has recommended to EU leaders that an extension until 31 January be granted.

Mr Tusk is vital in pulling together a united front for EU leaders and is eager to avoid Brussels being seen to interfere in UK politics by handing either a lengthy delay or one that is too short.

Emmanuel Macron

The French president has consistently said the UK should only be given a short Brexit extension and is understood to have suggested just a two-week delay this time. By being the most strident voice against delaying Brexit, Mr Macron has been Mr Johnson’s most helpful ally.

French president Emmanuel Macron

French president Emmanuel Macron

Downing Street would be delighted with the shortest possible deadline, but it is unlikely that he will get his way…

Angela Merkel

… because the German Chancellor usually intervenes. The German Chancellor is the other half of the EU’s power couple and she is often seen to temper France’s harder line.

Mrs Merkel is eager for Brussels to avoid being blamed for a no-deal Brexit and is cautious about the UK’s competitive presence post-Brexit. She would rather see it more closely aligned with the EU and will do what is necessary to achieve that, such as offering a three-month extension.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel