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Spokesman indicates Boris Johnson has not read Brexit trade deal text

Boris Johnson with his Brexit deal - Credit: Number 10/Twitter

It’s the 1246-page document that changed the lives of millions at the stroke of 11pm on New Year’s Eve – but has Boris Johnson read it?

The prime minister’s spokesperson was earlier repeatedly unable to confirm whether Johnson had read every word of the treaty setting out the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU.

Instead, he used the phrasing: “The prime minister is fully aware of the deal that we agreed.” 

The question follows fisheries minister Victoria Prentis’ indication that she had not read the treaty because she was busy “organising the local nativity trail.”

Johnson has since given Prentis his backing after calls from opposition MPs for her to resign. 

Asked whether it was Johnson’s expectation that his cabinet ministers read the treaty, his spokesman said: “The prime minister and the cabinet and other ministerial colleagues are fully aware of the deal we agreed with the EU.”

Similar questions were asked of the prime minister in 2019, after Johnson appeared not to understand the withdrawal agreement he had renegotiated with the EU. On that occasion, he claimed that his deal presented “no barriers of any kind” to trade crossing the Irish Sea – contradicting his own Brexit secretary. 

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