Brexit deal agreed: The most extraordinary quotes from 4.5 years of negotiations

Connor Parker
·4-min read

Watch: Boris Johnson announces post-Brexit trade deal with EU

The news that four and a half years of complicated and painful Brexit negotiations had finally come to a successful conclusion came in a four-word tweet.

A picture of a jubilant Boris Johnson, thumbs raised and grinned spread across his face, was posted under a simple announcement: the deal is done.

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Long before the result of the 2016 referendum was confirmed, the issue of Brexit was fiery and divisive.

These are some of the most striking quotes of the Brexit saga:

Boris Johnson in 2018.
Boris Johnson in 2018. (PA)

Boris Johnson, foreign secretary, July 2017

“There is no plan for no deal, because we’re going to get a great deal.”

Former International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has been a life long supporter of Brexit. (PA)
Former International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has been a life long supporter of Brexit. (PA)

Liam Fox, international trade secretary, July 2017

“The free trade agreement that we will have to come to with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.”

Theresa May was ultimately unable to get her vision of Brexit through parliament. (PA)
Theresa May was ultimately unable to get her vision of Brexit through parliament. (PA)

Prime minister Theresa May, December 2017

“Of course, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. There is, I believe, a new sense of optimism now in the talks, and I fully hope and expect that we will confirm the arrangements I have set out today in the European Council later this week.”

Donald Trump was a big supporter of Brexit. (AP)
Donald Trump was a big supporter of Brexit. (AP)

US president Donald Trump, January 2018

“Would it be the way I negotiate? No, I wouldn’t negotiate it the way it’s (being) negotiated… I would have had a different attitude. I would have said that the European Union is not cracked up to what it’s supposed to be. I would have taken a tougher stand in getting out.”

David Davis supported a hard Brexit right from the beginning. (PA)
David Davis supported a hard Brexit right from the beginning. (PA)

David Davis, resigning from the position of Brexit secretary, July 2018

“It seems to me that the national interest requires a secretary of state in my department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript.”

Dominic Raab resigned from May's cabinet but has been given a leading role in Johnson's government. (PA)
Dominic Raab resigned from May's cabinet but has been given a leading role in Johnson's government. (PA)

Dominic Raab, resigning from the position of Brexit Secretary, November 2018

“I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Nicola Sturgeon's SNP have always opposed Brexit. (PA)
Nicola Sturgeon's SNP have always opposed Brexit. (PA)

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon commenting on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, December 2018

“It was a wee bit nebulous. There’s not a lot of detail there.”

Boris Johnson, as Conservative Party leadership candidate, June 2019

“It is vital that we are prepared for a no-deal outcome if we are going to get the deal that we need. I don’t think that is where we are going to end up, I think it is a million-to-one against.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson November 2019

“Whack it in the microwave, gas mark… I’m not very good at cooking… Gas mark 4. Prick the lid. Put it in, and then we can get on… we can put this deal through parliament.”

Read more: Pound higher as investors weigh up 'landmark' UK-EU trade deal

Although Nigel Farage never held any official government role his influence on Brexit cannot be denied. (PA)
Although Nigel Farage never held any official government role his influence on Brexit cannot be denied. (PA)

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, December 2019

“The ‘oven-ready’ deal will give us indigestion for years and years and years, so I’m very, very disappointed in this direction they’re taking.”

Johnson's Get Brexit Done slogan carried him to a massive victory in the 2019 General Election. (PA)
Johnson's Get Brexit Done slogan carried him to a massive victory in the 2019 general election. (PA)

Prime minister Boris Johnson, December 2019

“Let’s get Brexit done.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson, December 2020

“I do think we need to be very, very clear, there is now a strong possibility – a strong possibility – that we will have a solution that is much more like an Australian relationship with the EU than a Canadian relationship with the EU.”

Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband, December 2020

“(Boris Johnson) has been cavalier. This is a man who is cavalier with our national interest and … he is playing Russian roulette with the jobs and livelihoods of people up and down the country.”

Michel Barnier has been the face of the EU's side of the negotiating table since 2016. (PA)
Michel Barnier has been the face of the EU's side of the negotiating table since 2016. (PA)

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, December 2020

“It’s the moment of truth. We have very little time remaining, just a few hours, to work through these negotiations in useful fashion … There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson, Christmas Eve 2020

"The deal is done.”