Liz Truss working on 'options' in event of no-deal Brexit

7 October 2020, 10:02 | Updated: 7 October 2020, 10:41

By Maddie Goodfellow

Trade Secretary Liz Truss has told LBC that she is looking at "options" for the UK in case a Brexit trade deal cannot be reached with the EU.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari, the Trade Secretary said: "I believe that as you get closer to a deadline, minds are focused.

"We are very clear about the deal we want with the EU, we want a Canada style deal where we control our own rules and regulations, we are not subject to the European court and we get a good deal on fisheries.

Fishing rights, state aid and governance continue to be vexed issues between the two sides as they look to ratify a new trading relationship before the transition period ends on December 31.

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When asked by Nick how confident she is that a deal can be reached in time, Ms Truss said she is looking at options to make sure the UK gets the best deal.

"There's a deal there to be done and I think it makes sense for the EU and the UK to sign that deal. But what I'm doing as trade secretary is making sure we've got options," she explained.

"So we are working on a deal with the United States, we're working on a deal with the trans-pacific partnership, because what I want is for British exporters to have lots of markets where they can send our fantastic products."

The UK Government is now facing legal action from Brussels after pushing ahead with the UK Internal Market Bill, which could override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement signed last year.

The EU has criticised the Bill, which is making its way through Parliament, as having "seriously damaged trust" and the legislation has prompted warnings from politicians in Europe and the US.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said it was "by its nature a breach of the obligation of good faith" in the Agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But, despite launching legal proceedings, Ms von der Leyen agreed for negotiators to continue their talks to reach a trade deal after a video conference with Mr Johnson on Saturday.

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The Trade Secretary's comments echo those made by the Prime Minister just days earlier.

Boris Johnson has said a UK-EU trade deal is "there to de done" but highlighted the UK could "prosper mightily" if no deal is reached, as the two sides agreed to intensify talks.

Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen spoke via video conference on Saturday to take stock of progress in the negotiations following the final scheduled round of talks between Brussels and the UK this week.

Following their conversation on Saturday, the pair have tasked their chief negotiators with working "intensively" to resolve the remaining differences in the post-Brexit trade talks.

Mr Johnson said: "I think it's there to be done. Alas, there are some difficult issues that need to be fixed.

"There is no question that the EU needs to understand that we're utterly serious about needing to control our own laws and our own regulations.

"And similarly they need to understand that the repatriation of the UK's fisheries which were lost in 1973 is very important."