Boris takes control: PM's October Brexit deal deadline

6 September 2020, 22:30 | Updated: 7 September 2020, 08:11

Boris Johnson has given Brussels a five week deadline to agree a deal - or the UK will leave the EU without one
Boris Johnson has given Brussels a five week deadline to agree a deal - or the UK will leave the EU without one. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Boris Johnson has given the EU a five week deadline to agree a Brexit deal, as the UK heads into the final round of negotiations with Brussels.

The Prime Minister has toughened his stance on the possibility of a no deal, and said if an agreement is not reached by 15 October, just five-and-a-half weeks away, then "we should both accept that and move on".

In one of his most decisive moments yet as we move closer to the 31 December end date of the transition period, Mr Johnson will say on Monday leaving the EU without a deal would still be a "good outcome".

The UK has been in negotiations with Brussels since March 2017, but the bloc has yet to agree on the terms of our withdrawal.

The government has shown an increasingly hardened stance towards the EU in recent months, and Mr Johnson will say "we cannot and will not compromise on the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country to get it.

In comments aimed to quell any fears a no deal would be negative on the UK's future, Mr Johnson will say it will lead us to have a trading deal with the EU similar to 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

In one of his most decisive moments yet as we move closer to the 31 December end date of the transition period, Mr Johnson will say on Monday leaving the EU without a deal would still be a "good outcome"
In one of his most decisive moments yet as we move closer to the 31 December end date of the transition period, Mr Johnson will say on Monday leaving the EU without a deal would still be a "good outcome". Picture: PA

"I want to be absolutely clear that, as we have said right from the start, that would be a good outcome for the UK," the Conservative Party leader will argue.

"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.

Read more: Dominic Raab says trade deal is 'there for the taking'

"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."

Read more: UK risks no-deal Brexit by refusing to compromise, says Barnier

Read more: UK must 'not surrender' to EU over fisheries

David Frost and Michel Barnier pictured before the coronavirus pandemic
David Frost and Michel Barnier pictured before the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: PA

The UK's negotiator Lord David Frost and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab both used interviews at the weekend to vow not to back down on the remaining sticking points.

Mr Raab said a trade deal with Brussels is "there for the taking" and said the negotiations had been "boiled down to two outstanding bones of contention" - control of UK fishing waters and taxpayer support for businesses .

Lord Frost said the Government is not "scared" of walking away from talks with the European Union and said the UK was preparing to leave the transition period "come what may".

The Prime Minister's comments in full

“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 15 October 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.   

"We will then have a trading arrangement with the EU like Australia’s.  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 cooperation, 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.

"There is still an agreement to be had.  We will continue to work hard in September to achieve it.  It is one based on our reasonable proposal for a standard free trade agreement like the one the EU has agreed with Canada and so many others.  Even at this late stage, if the EU are ready to rethink their current positions and agree this I will be delighted.  But we cannot and will not compromise on the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country to get it.”

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