Boris Johnson: Britain has 'no plan' for leaving EU without a trade deal
2 min read
The Government has "no plan" in place for leaving the European Union without striking a Brexit deal, Boris Johnson has revealed.
The Foreign Secretary insisted the UK would "get a great deal" in its negotiations with Brussels leaders.
Downing Street immediately slapped down Mr Johnson by insisting that "contingency planning is taking place for a range of scenarios".
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson said: "There is no plan for no deal, because we’re going to get a great deal and I would, just for the sake of example and illustration, I would remind the honourable lady that there was a time when Britain was not in what we then called the Common Market."
Mr Johnson had earlier told MPs that the chances of Britain failing to reach a deal with the rest of the EU were "vanishingly unlikely".
"It is manifestly in the interests of both sides of the Channel to get a great free trade deal and a new deep and special partnership between us and the European Union, and that is what we are going to achieve," he said.
Theresa May has repeatedly said that "no deal is better than a bad deal" when it comes to the Brexit negotiations.
But Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry quoted a committee report which branded failing to plan for such an event a “dereliction of duty”.
“It is slightly baffling, after all it is the Prime Minister, who decided to put the [matter] of the no deal option on the table and she couldn’t stop using the phrase during the election campaign and now when we ask what it means in practice they refuse to tell us,” she said.
“The Foreign Affairs Committee said in December that the government should produce a no deal plan outlining the likely consequences and making proposals to mitigate potential risks, anything else would be a dereliction of duty.”
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "We are seeking the best possible deal for Britain and we're confident that that's what we're going to achieve. Contingency planning is taking place for a range of scenarios."
Mr Johnson also slammed the EU's "extortionate" demands over the Brexit divorce bill.
Asked by Tory MP Philip Hollobone whether Brussels should be told to "go whistle" over reports that EU officials could demand up to €100bn, Mr Johnson replied: "I think that the sums that I have seen, seem to me to be extortionate and I think go whistle is an entirely appropriate expression."
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