Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that a no-deal Brexit would be ‘a very good option’ during a radio interview, a day after trade talks collapsed.
Johnson told LBC radio that leaving the transition period without a deal would still allow the UK to trade on Australian-style terms.
‘We now need to make sure that we get a good deal. And I think actually, you know, I’ve had some very good conversations with friends and colleagues around the EU – I’m a bit more optimistic than Michel is there,’ he said.
‘I just think there’s a good agreement to be reached, but obviously if we can’t then we will have the very good option also of an Australian-style arrangement.’
Australia has no comprehensive trade deal with the EU and that a range of bilateral agreements are in place instead, effectively meaning a no-deal Brexit.
Brexit negotiations ended a day early on Thursday, leaving chief UK negotiator David Frost to admit that ‘significant differences’ still remained between the two sides.
The EU chief’s negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the UK needed to show ‘equivalent engagement’ after claiming it failed to the latest round of meeting seriously.
‘The EU engaged constructively’, he said, ‘… [And it] expects, in turn, its positions to be better understood and respected in order to reach an agreement. We need an equivalent engagement by the United Kingdom.’
British and EU negotiators are trying to reach agreement on contentious areas such as the level playing field, fisheries, and the role of the European Court of Justice after Brexit.
Downing Street has continuously ruled out extending negotiations and have instead urged an acceleration of talks so that it can reach its target of sealing a deal by the end of summer.
The legal deadline to seek an extension passed this week.