Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the UK should prepare for a ‘no-deal Brexit’.
The PM said in a statement that the country is cruising towards an Australia-esque future in terms of splitting from the EU’s single market and customs union without a new trade agreement, unless Brussels shows ‘a fundamental change of approach’.
Johnson said: ‘From the outset we were totally clear that we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship based on friendship and free trade. To judge by the latest EU summit in Brussels, that won’t work for our EU partners.’
As per The Guardian, he said: ‘They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is completely unacceptable to an independent country. And since we have only 10 weeks until the end of the transition period on January 1, I have to make a judgement about the likely outcome and to get us all ready.’
The PM’s comments come after an EU summit that had previously been dubbed the deadline for reaching a trade deal on either side, following the UK’s departure on January 31 this year.
His statement continued:
And given that they have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months and given that this summit appears explicitly to rule out a Canada-style deal, I’ve concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s, based on simple principles of global free trade.
Recognising there would always be change come January 1, ‘whatever type of relationship we had’, he said: ‘Now is the time for our businesses to get ready and for our hauliers to get ready, for travellers to get ready.’
He went on to say negotiations weren’t completely lost, explaining:
And, of course, we’re willing to discuss the practicalities with our friends where a lot of progress has already been made, by the way on such issues as social security and aviation, nuclear cooperation, and so on.
But, for whatever reason, it’s clear from the summit that after 45 years of membership, they are not willing, unless there’s some fundamental change of approach, to offer this country, the same terms as Canada.
He added: ‘And so with high hearts and with complete confidence, we will prepare to embrace the alternative and we will prosper mightily as an independent free trading nation controlling our own borders, our fisheries and setting our own laws.’
Johnson concluded: ‘And in the meantime, the government will, of course, be focusing on tackling COVID-19 and building that better so that 2021 is a year of recovery and renewal.’
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