Boris Johnson lays out post-Brexit EU trade deal demands with tough talk

1 February 2020, 17:16 | Updated: 2 February 2020, 07:17

Boris Johnson will roll out the tough talk as he reveals his demands for a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

The prime minister is expected to say in his first speech since the UK left the bloc that he wants no alignment between the two sides.

That could mean full customs checks on goods crossing the border into Britain after continuity trade rules stop on 31 December 2020.

Despite the commitment, Mr Johnson will pledge that current standards on food hygiene, workers’ rights and environmental protections will not be lowered.

He is expected to declare on Monday that “no achievement lies beyond our reach” and repeat a pledge to simultaneously make progress on trade deals with other countries including the United States, Australia and Japan.

With the EU, he will announce plans to push for a Canada-style agreement that would scrap most tariffs on goods traded between the two countries while maintaining sovereignty.

But the prime minister will suggest if that does not fly then he will not give concessions to win greater market access and instead pursue a more limited Australia-style deal instead.

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A Downing Street source said: "We are fully independent and our approach to a free trade deal will not be bound by our previous obligations.

"Nor will we agree to obligations which the EU has not required of other countries which it has signed comparable free trade deals with."

As Mr Johnson makes his speech on Monday, Brussels will also publish its negotiating mandate for the next stage of talks which will last up to 11 months.

The EU is pessimistic about the short timetable for reaching a deal and made clear that Britain will have to accept worse terms and conditions for trade than if it were still a member of the EU.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: "We want to have the best possible relationship with the United Kingdom, but it will never be as good as membership."

The UK left the EU on Friday and is now in a “transition period” where it remains in the single market and customs union, follows EU law and continues paying into its budget.

This will end on 31 December 2020.