Friday, 25 Sep 2020

Boris Johnson says no-deal Brexit will still be a 'good outcome' for UK

Boris Johnson has said leaving the EU without a trade deal would still be a ‘good outcome’ for the UK as he gave the bloc 38 days to reach an agreement.

In comments due to be made Monday, the Prime Minister will tell Brussels that, if no agreement is reached by the European Council on October 15, both sides should be prepared to ‘accept that and move on’.

He is then expected to make it clear that time is running out for the EU and UK to ratify an agreement in time for 2021. He will continue: ‘We are now entering the final phase of our negotiations with the EU.

‘The EU have been very clear about the timetable. I am too. There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on October 15 if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year.

‘So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point. If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.’

Johnson is also expected to argue that collapsing trade talks next month would still represent ‘a good outcome for the UK’, and share how his administration is preparing for such an eventuality.

Downing Street has created a transition hub, with handpicked officials across government departments working to ensure the UK is ready to trade without a deal when the transition period ceases, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Johnson will say that leaving without a deal could allow the UK to have a ‘trading arrangement with the EU like Australia’s’, meaning it would fall back on trade protocols as set by the World Trade Organisation when doing business with its largest trading partner.

He will say: ‘I want to be absolutely clear that, as we have said right from the start, that would be a good outcome for the UK. As a Government we are preparing, at our borders and at our ports, to be ready for it.

‘We will have full control over our laws, our rules, and our fishing waters. We will have the freedom to do trade deals with every country in the world. And we will prosper mightily as a result.

‘We will of course always be ready to talk to our EU friends even in these circumstances. We will be ready to find sensible accommodations on practical issues such as flights, lorry transport, or scientific co-operation, if the EU wants to do that.

‘Our door will never be closed and we will trade as friends and partners – but without a free trade agreement.’

Johnson’s words will come just one day after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab vowed not to back down on remaining sticking points between the UK and the EU. Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he said negotiations had been ‘boiled down to two outstanding bones of contention’.

These are control of UK fishing waters and the level of taxpayer support the government will be able to provide businesses. Raab stated that neither ‘principle’ could be ‘haggled away’.

Raab also noted that he would prefer to leave with a deal and said he thought there would be ‘damaging impacts’ felt on both sides of the Channel if no deal was reached.

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