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The House Live All
By Bishop of Leeds
Press releases

Boris Johnson vows 'no alignment' with European Union in post-Brexit trade deal

3 min read

Boris Johnson will declare that he wants "no alignment" between Britain and the European Union in a post-Brexit trade deal.

In a major speech on Monday, the Prime Minister will make clear that he is prepared to accept customs checks at Britain's borders if he cannot secure his preferred agreement with the EU.

Addressing business leaders and diplomats in London, Mr Johnson will reportedly call for the UK to be treated as an "equal" in the talks and demand "no alignment, no jurisdiction of the European courts, and no concessions" with Brussels.

But his political opponents branded it a "scorched earth policy".

A Downing Street source said: "We are fully independent and our approach to a free trade deal will not be bound by our previous obligations.

"Nor will we agree to obligations which the EU has not required of other countries which it has signed comparable free trade deals with."

The Prime Minister has previously called for a Canada-style free trade tie-up with the EU.

The political declaration signed by the two sides last year commits the two sides to seeking an "ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership" with a "comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement at its core".

But The Sunday Telegraph reports that Mr Johnson has become "privately infuriated" at signs the EU could condition access to its markets on Britain continuing to follow many of its rules and standards as well as accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in trade disputes.

A government source told the paper: "There are only two likely outcomes in negotiation - a free trade deal like Canada or a looser arrangement like Australia - and we are happy to pursue both."

Mr Johnson is set to say on Monday that "no achievement lies beyond our reach" as he makes clear that Britain will try to simultaneously make headway on deals with other countries including the United States and Japan while it thrashes out an agreement with the EU.

The Liberal Democrats have already taken aim at the Prime Minister ahead of his speech.

Acting leader Sir Ed Davey said: "Boris Johnson talks about bringing the country together and building a prosperous future. 

"Neither of those things can be done by deliberately hollowing out our existing trade relationships with our most important economic partners. 

"This is nothing short of a scorched earth policy.

"Johnson is only interested in bringing the Brexit vote together, not the country. He is more than happy to leave the 48% behind."

The speech comes as the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier prepares to publish his own negotiating mandate for the talks, which will run until at least the end of year while Britain remains in a closely-aligned transition period with the EU.

European leaders have already raised doubts about the 11-month timeframe for agreeing a deal, but Mr Johnson has vowed not to extend the transition period beyond the end of this year.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has meanwhile warned the UK that "with every choice comes a consequence" and made clear that Brussels is unlikely to grant access to its markets without alignment on key rules and standards.

"Without the free movement of people, you cannot have the free movement of capital, goods and services," she said in a speech in London last month.

"Without a level playing field on environment, labour and state aid, you cannot have the highest quality access to the world's largest single market.

"The more divergence there is, the more distant the partnership will be."

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