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Downing Street finally accepts ‘Australia-style’ Brexit means ‘no-deal’

Boris Johnson on the phone in Downing Street - Credit: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street

Downing Street has finally acknowledged for the first time that leaving the EU on an ‘Australia-style’ deal is the equivalent of a no-deal Brexit, but still insists the UK can “prosper” from it.

As what is meant by the definition, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “As a matter of fact, Australia does not have a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU.

“So the bulk of their trade is done according to WTO terms. So, Australia terms would mean that the UK would trade with the EU under WTO terms, based on the principles of free trade.”

For weeks and months, ministers have been attempting to differentiate between an ‘Australian’ deal and not having one at all.

Minister Alok Sharma admitted it was “semantics” when he was questioned about it in October.

A Brexiteer entered into a fiery argument with radio presenter James O’Brien after he admitted it was “designed to pull the wool over voters’ eyes” when the government used the definition. 

Johnson’s spokesman acknowledged that food price rises were likely without a deal, but said the UK “will leave on Australian terms and we will prosper”.

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