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Watch: Boris Johnson says UK should prepare for no-deal break with EU
Boris Johnson has told nation to prepare for no-deal in post-Brexit trade talks
Labour MP accuses PM of having told public “plain and simple lies” about Brexit
Talks are set to continue on Monday but Johnson has warned EU needs to show “fundamental change in approach” for negotiations to succeed
Boris Johnson has been accused of telling “plain and simple lies” over Brexit after telling the nation to prepare for a no-deal outcome from trade talks with the EU.
It comes after Johnson said the UK will pursue the so-called “Australia solution” – the prime minister’s language for no-deal – unless there is a “fundamental change in approach” from the EU side.
Johnson accused the EU of wanting the “continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is completely unacceptable to an independent country”.
With the “transition period” – which has seen the UK effectively remain as EU members since departing in January – ending on 31 December, the PM said he was making a “judgment about the likely outcome and [getting] us ready”.
He also accused the EU of refusing to “negotiate seriously”.
A number of opposition MPs were unhappy:
Tories claimed they’d “got Brexit done” with their “oven-ready” deal. Plain and simple lies. They’ve damaged our country and our reputation deeply. https://t.co/5QFtjfp2Xr
— Neil Coyle (@coyleneil) October 16, 2020
It’s always someone else isn’t it Boris. https://t.co/3Ff7Lk1ekO
— Jim McMahon MP (@JimfromOldham) October 16, 2020
PM bewails self-inflicted injury like a premier league prima donna
Tories are willfully imposing #NoDeal economic agony on the manufacturers, farmers and ports of Wales during #Covid19
Shameless blamegame, but Johnson and collaborating Welsh Tory MPs own this https://t.co/ieiar8FCl8
— Liz Saville Roberts AS/MP (@LSRPlaid) October 16, 2020
Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Christine Jardine also said his comments “are just further evidence of the PM’s incompetence”.
She added: “At a time when the UK is already facing the biggest crisis in generations as a result of coronavirus, we cannot afford to crash out of the EU without a deal in place or to accept a rushed, bad deal.”
Johnson won last year’s general election under his “get Brexit done” mantra, which was repeated hundreds of times over the course of the campaign.
While he delivered this by overseeing the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January, he has since been under pressure to deliver a trade agreement.
However, hardliner Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader who was outmaneuvered by Johnson before the election and ended up with no seats, welcomed the PM’s update:
A canada-style deal was always impossible given the withdrawal agreement. Boris now reaching the right solution. https://t.co/TsT6sZbKUg
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) October 16, 2020
The EU negotiating team, led by Michel Barnier, will be heading to London on Monday to continue negotiations.
EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, responding to Johnson’s statement, said:
🇪🇺-🇬🇧 talks: 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.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) October 16, 2020
Meanwhile, the pound dropped following Johnson’s no-deal announcement. It had been trading higher against the euro and dollar but dropped in the wake of the statement