Europe

UK threatens to abandon EU talks if forced to follow rules ‘We don’t NEED a trade deal’

Boris Johnson committed to not requesting an extension of the transition period, with the Prime Minister set to say in a speech on Monday he is ready to see trade talks with the EU collapse rather than postponed the end of the process again. And Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak claimed the UK does not actually require to strike an agreement due to the “range of options” available to the government. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Sunak said: “We don’t need to get a deal.

“We have left, we can trade…there are lots of different ways countries trade with each other.

“We trade with lots of countries around the world, the EU trades with lots of countries around the world.”

“They trade with some countries as part of the customs union, they trade with other countries like Canada through a free trade agreement and they trade with countries like Australia through specific little agreements.”

Mr Sunak added: “There are a range of options we can pursue.”

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Mr Sunak insisted that having a deadline to conclude the negotiations by “focuses the minds” and insisted the Government is committed to delivering on their pledge to have talks concluded in 2020.

He continued: “We don’t want more dither and delay in these processes.

“We think a deadline is good, it focuses minds and concentrates everybody.

“And indeed the political declaration that we’ve signed with the EU commits both sides to conclude those negotiations over the course of this year.

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“It commits them to actually get them concluded this year and this is our extension.”

In a speech on Monday, Boris Johnson will demand Brussels treats the UK as an equal – and will tell voters that “no achievement lies beyond our reach”.

In echoes of Margaret Thatcher’s tough tactics that forced the EU to give Britain the rebate in 1984, Mr Johnson is expected to say “no, no, no” – stressing that there will be “no alignment, no jurisdiction of the European courts and no concessions”.

Sources confirm the Prime Minister will give his blueprint for the upcoming trade talks to an audience of ambassadors, business leaders and think-tanks at a London venue with historic links to trade, less than 72 hours after Britain’s exit from the EU.

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A Government source said: “There are only two likely outcomes in negotiation – a free trade deal like Canada or a looser arrangement like Australia. We are happy to pursue both.” In a message to the EU and America, Mr Johnson will also lay out his red lines. He is expected to say that the NHS “will not be on the table in any trade talks”.

The Prime Minister’s tough message to the EU comes after early demands from Brussels that Britain allows access to its fishing waters, agrees to economic alignment following EU rules and leaves its borders open to free movement.

UK negotiators are now aiming to secure an agreement at least as ambitious as Canada’s deal. Mr Johnson will note that countries such as Japan and Canada have not had to sign up to EU rules and will say the UK expects “comparable treatment”.

Mr Johnson is expected to say that “no achievement lies beyond our reach” while Glasgow and Liverpool will be cited as examples of cities set to benefit from increased transatlantic trade.

He will confirm that talks with the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan will happen at the same time as wrangling with the EU, and they will be given equal weight – putting further pressure on Brussels to compromise.

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