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Boris Johnson tells UK ‘get ready for no-deal Brexit’ after trade talks fail

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Boris Johnson has admitted that a trade deal with the EU is looking increasingly unlikely.

He said it’s time to ‘get ready’ for the prospect of a no-deal Brexit after the latest round of talks failed.

A stalemate has dragged on for months with both sides blaming the other for the lack of progress.

The prime minister claimed: ‘Unless there’s a fundamental change of approach, we should go for the Australia solution.’

Australia has no comprehensive trade deal with the EU. Mr Johnson was speaking from Downing Street after a summit that both sides said was the deadline for hammering out a trade deal.

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The PM accused Brussels of ‘abandoning’ their hopes of reaching a deal but suggested he was not completely walking away from negotiations.

He said: ‘What we’re saying to them is come here, come to us, if there’s some fundamental change of approach.’

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson said it was time to embrace a no deal with ‘high hearts’ (Picture: PA)

But he said it was time to embrace the alternative solution to a deal with ‘high hearts’, vowing the UK will ‘prosper mightily’.

The UK has been seeking a Canada-style free trade agreement, which Brussels has refused.

Britain officially left the EU on January 31 but will remain part of its economic structures until December 31.

After that, it needs a new trade agreement or will face tariffs and other economic barriers with the EU, its biggest trading partner.

Earlier today, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said differences remained on two issues: EU boats’ access to UK fishing waters, and ‘level playing field’ rules to ensure fair economic competition between Britain and the bloc.

He insisted a deal could still be made but said there needs to be ‘flexibility on both sides’.

He told the BBC that compromise ‘feels a little bit lacking from the European Union.’

He added: ‘The issues are really narrow now’.

 the Union flag is lowered and removed from outside of the European Parliament in Brussels
A no-deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely (Picture: AP)

The two sides have been trying to avoid a no-deal Brexit that would hit business and jobs and compound the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

But months of talks have ground to a halt on the issues of fishing – highly symbolic for maritime nations on both sides – and rules to ensure common regulatory standards and fair competition.

The EU fears the UK will gain an unfair advantage by slashing food, workplace and environmental standards and pumping state money into businesses once it is free of the bloc’s rules.

But the UK says the EU’s terms means it would have to follow the rules of the bloc without being in it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sought to soothe tempers, saying that ‘we asked Britain to be willing to compromise. This of course means that we too have to make compromises.’

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier signalled he expected the talks to continue.

 An Anti-Brexit protest takes place beneath the statue of Edward Carson
The Brexit transition period ends on December 31 (Picture: Getty)

‘The negotiations aren’t over,’ he said, adding that his team would be London-bound for more talks next week and planned to host negotiations in Brussels the week after that.

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Trust between the two sides, already frayed by years of Brexit acrimony, took a nosedive last month when Johnson introduced legislation that breaches parts of the withdrawal agreement he himself signed with the EU only last year.

The European Parliament, which must approve any deal, has vowed not to approve any trade deal if the UK government doesn’t withdraw this legislation.

Britain says the bill, which has yet to become law, is needed as an insurance policy in case the EU behaves unreasonably after Brexit.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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