Boris Johnson has ended a Brexit summit between the UK and European Union with an ultimatum – threatening a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020.
The prime minister issued a statement saying that it was time for the UK to “get ready” for the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on January 1.
John said if the EU is not prepared to give UK a Canada-style deal, or provide a “fundamental change of opinion” the government is prepared to walk away from negotiations.
He said: “I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade.
“Unless there is a fundamental change of approach, we’re going to go for the Australia solution. And we should do it with great confidence,” he said.
“It’s becoming clear the EU don’t want to do the type of Canada deal that we originally asked for. It does seem curious that after 45 years of our membership they can offer Canada terms they won’t offer us.”
Johnson had boasted of his “fantastic” deal at the general election, with all of his candidates signed up to implementing it.
Naomi Smith from the pro-EU pressure group Best for Britain said: “The prime minister was elected on a promise to secure a trade deal with the EU. To be clear, the EU has not abandoned the idea of a free trade deal with us and it would be the prime minister’s decision to abandon these talks.
“Without a deal tariffs would destroy the competitiveness of many UK industries, meaning the current economic crisis will cut deeper into people’s lives.
“At the same time the government readily admits that most businesses are not prepared for no-deal. They don’t have the cash reserves to make the necessary changes and the government still hasn’t put in place the correct customs infrastructure.
“The EU has signalled its desire to carry on talks. Walking away now would be a hideous gamble with the country’s future.”