Boris Johnson says UK should 'get ready' for no deal Brexit

16 October 2020, 12:09 | Updated: 16 October 2020, 14:02

By Kate Buck

The Prime Minister has said unless there is a “fundamental change in approach” from the EU then the UK should "get ready" for a no deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson claimed Brussels had "abandoned" the ambition but insisted "we always knew there would be change" next year once the transition period ends "whatever type of relationship we had".

He made the comments in Downing Street after an EU summit which both sides said was the deadline for hammering out a trade deal.

Mr Johnson said: "Unless there's a fundamental change of approach, we're going to go for the Australia solution."

Despite his strong words, the PM stopped short of saying the negotiations were over.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said planned negotiations would continue.

She tweeted: "The EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price.

"As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations."

The PM needed to decide today whether or not talks should continue after the bloc said it was willing to continue trade negotiations but called on Britain to make the next move.

Boris Johnson has said the UK should prepare for a no deal Brexit
Boris Johnson has said the UK should prepare for a no deal Brexit. Picture: PA
The deadline for Boris Johnson to have a deal was yesterday
The deadline for Boris Johnson to have a deal was yesterday. Picture: PA

The Eu's Chief negotiator Michel Barnier said: “I can confirm that we’re available, we shall remain available until the last possible day.

“The negotiations aren’t over, we want to give these negotiations every chance of being successful to give every chance of agreement.”

Mr Johnson last month proposed that both sides should walk away from the talks and prepare for a no-deal outcome if there was no agreement by the European Council meeting on October 15.

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen pictured in January
Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen pictured in January. Picture: PA

Boris Johnson's remarks in full

We left the EU on January 31 and delivered on the largest democratic mandate in the history of this country.

And since then we have been in a transition period obeying EU law, paying our fees – as a non-voting member - working on the future relationship we hope to enjoy with our friends and partners from January.

And 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. They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country.

And since we have only ten weeks until the end of the transition period on January 1, I have to make a judgment about the likely outcome and to get us all ready.

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 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.

And we can do it, because we always knew that there would be change on January 1 whatever type of relationship we had.

And so now is the time for our businesses to get ready, and for hauliers to get ready, and for travellers to get ready.

And of course we are 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 is clear from the summit that after 45 years of membership they are not willing - unless there is some fundamental change of approach - to offer this country the same terms as Canada.

And so with high hearts and 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.

And in the meantime the government will be focussing on tackling COVID and building back better so that 2021 is a year of recovery and renewal.

Thank you very much.

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