United Kingdom must prepare for ‘no deal’ Brexit, says PM Boris Johnson

Marco Green
October 17, 2020

Boris Johnson has put the United Kingdom on course for a no-deal Brexit on 31 December, announcing that he is ready to walk away from talks on a free trade agreement with the European Union and force an "Australian-style" outcome - unless Brussels shows "a fundamental change of approach".

"Lord Frost said that, as the PM had made clear, the European Council's conclusions had left us without a basis to continue the trade talks without a fundamental change in the EU's approach to these negotiations".

While a statement from Johnson's office said the prime minister expressed "his disappointment that more progress had not been made over the past two weeks".

"Otherwise we are more than happy to talk about the practicalities that I described - social security issues, road haulage and so on".

Mr Kawczynski, a vocal Brexiteer, said: "A UK Government source says Lord Frost has spoken to Barnier and told him not to bother coming to London on Monday for more talks. If not, there is no point in coming".

Johnson has repeatedly said that his preference is for a deal but that Britain could make a success of a no-deal scenario, which would throw $900 billion in annual bilateral trade into uncertainty and could snarl the border, turning the southeastern county of Kent into a vast truck park.

Sebastien Galy, a macro strategist at Nordea, said Johnson was "likely to call an end to negotiations with the European Union". But we have been clear that there are still differences with fisheries being the starkest.

"I have 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", Johnson said.

Mr Johnson said Britain could embrace the prospect of trading on WTO terms - with tariffs on many goods and some quota restrictions - with "high hearts and complete confidence".

Industry has reacted with alarm at the suggestion, warning of the damage to an economy already stricken by coronavirus if there was no deal by the end of the year. It has to be a fair agreement that serves the interests of both sides.

"Neither side can afford to fall at the final fence".

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said every hour spent preparing for a no deal Brexit was an hour lost to the fight against Covid-19.

In a statement from Downing Street, Johnson said that he was making a judgment call on the UK-EU trade negotiations as the January 1, 2021, deadline for the end of the ongoing Brexit transition period was now only 10 weeks away and the crucial European Council summit this week failed to come up with promising answers. This of course means that we too have to make compromises, " Merkel said, in conciliatory note.

"If these conditions are not met, it's possible we won't have a deal".

Johnson's brinkmanship, which follows an European Union demand that London make further concessions, may push Brexit toward disorder, though he still left open the possibility that the European Union could reconsider and offer Britain a better deal.

All sides have acknowledged that the question of future fishing rights once the current Brexit transition period ends remains among the most hard issues to be resolved.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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