Stanley Johnson says Brexiteers like his son are in ‘cloud cuckoo land’ over Brexit deal

Boris Johnson's father Stanley Johnson. Photograph: BBC.

Boris Johnson's father Stanley Johnson. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: BBC

Boris Johnson's father has said Brexiteers like his son are in 'cloud cuckoo land' over the EU's chances of backing down over a 'level playing field' to secure a deal.


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Stanley Johnson said that those in the Downing Street that believe the EU will give Britain a free trade agreement without signing up to the 'level playing field' rules - which include protecting food and welfare standards - would be mistaken.

He said that the government would have to back down on that requirement, along with its position on the European Court of Justice, if it wants a deal at the end of the transition period.

The prime minister's father, a keen environmentalist, told the Sustainable Food Trust: 'Anybody who thinks, 'Oh well, we have a free trade agreement with the EU but we don't have to bother about harmonisation' is in cloud cuckoo land.

'Why on earth should anybody give us a free trade agreement if we're not going to apply the same sort of standards to our production processes as our competitors are?



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'When I hear people say, 'Oh yes and of course we're not going to have the European Court of Justice at all'.

'Well, I cannot believe that in the long run, they will allow us a free trade agreement if we are seen to be profiting from our legally independent status to have less than optimal animal welfare standards and environmental standards.'

Johnson's father, who previously backed Remain but switched to supporting Leave a year after the result, said he had tried to lobby the prime minister on the matter but explained: 'There is a whole machinery of government which is very difficult to bypass.'

A level playing field has been a key demand from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, but one that has been continually rejected by Number 10.

Barnier warned last month: 'By the refusal to commit to the condition of open and fair competition, and to a balanced agreement on fisheries, the UK makes a trade agreement at this point unlikely.

'The UK still refuses to commit to maintaining high standards in a meaningful way.

Patrick Holden, chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, supported the former MEP's remarks.

He said: 'Stanley Johnson is absolutely right that if we do not mirror existing EU standards on the environment, food safety and animal welfare, they will never do a post-Brexit, a free-trade deal with us.'

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