Prime Minister Boris Johnson laughed as he was questioned about the prospects of a no-deal Brexit during a press conference yesterday, December 21.
Amid concerns over the new strain of COVID-19 and swathes of restrictions being introduced, the UK is also on a collision course with Brexit in the New Year – January 1, 2021, to be exact.
However, the conditions of the country’s exit from the European Union are still under negotiation, something which even provoked a laugh from the PM.
As part of his press briefing yesterday, Johnson was asked by ITV’s political editor Robert Peston: ‘It’s almost the end of the year, you must know by now whether we’re going to get a free trade deal. Will we?’
Johnson’s immediate response was to laugh, alongside Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. He then said he’d had a ‘great conversation’ with French president Emmanuel Macron, adding: ‘It’s his birthday, by the way.’
The PM then confirmed the status of EU trade talks ‘remains unchanged’ due to difficulties in negotiations over fisheries and other things. ‘The UK has got to be able to control its own laws, completely, and also we’ve got to be able to control our own fisheries,’ he said.
Royal correspondent Charlie Proctor tweeted: ‘The camera is on you Boris. It isn’t funny – livelihoods depend on a Brexit deal.’
Among the public, the consensus is very negative against the PM laughing about Brexit, with one dubbing him an ‘omnishambles’. Another user wrote: ‘It’s all just one big joke to Johnson to Shapps. What did the country do to get this incompetent idiot as our prime minister?’
Another tweeted: ‘Can’t they understand at a time the country is in lockdown, we find ourselves cut-off from the world and stress levels are already high; Brexit is what could break us all? Take it seriously!! Delay it!’
Around speculation that Johnson could delay Brexit once more, sources say Downing Street has made another offer for EU fleets fishing on British waters, with the country’s previous request for 60% reduction in the catch by value reportedly dropped to 35%, closer to Michel Barnier’s earlier 25% offer.
Clément Beaune, France’s European affairs minister, said, ‘There have been successive proposals from the UK, sometimes on fishing, that don’t respond to European priorities and demands,’ The Guardian reports.
He added: ‘Difficulties remain, in the fishing sector, but not only, so it would be an error of judgment and unacceptable stigmatisation to say that a few countries or a few sectors are blocking.’
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