Boris Johnson’s advisers rate chances of Brexit deal at just 30% to 40%

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and David Frost. Photo: OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AF

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and David Frost. Photo: OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AFP via Getty Images - Credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Boris Johnson's most senior advisers only see a 30% to 40% chance of striking a Brexit trade deal with the European Union, despite claiming he had an 'oven-ready' deal during the general election.

James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator and Times columnist, wrote: 'The chances of a Brexit deal have receded significantly over the summer.

'Inside No 10, they now think there is only a 30 to 40% chance that there will be an agreement.

'The sticking point isn't fish — I'm told that there is a 'deal to be done' there — but state aid, the question of how much freedom Britain should have to subsidise companies and industries.'

The UK's chief negotiator told the Mail on Sunday that the government wants to take the government's threat of a no-deal Brexit seriously, having criticised Theresa May's team for blinking first.

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'We came in after a government and negotiating team that had blinked and had its bluff called at critical moments, and the EU had learned not to take our word seriously.'

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'So a lot of what we are trying to do this year is to get them to realise that we mean what we say and they should take our position seriously'.

The Europe sherpa said the UK was preparing to leave the transition period 'come what may' – even if that meant exiting with no deal, which officials have dubbed a so-called 'Australian-style' arrangement.

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Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, accused the government of being 'reckless' in its approach to trade negotiations with the European Union.

He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: 'I do feel the government is being very reckless and risky.

'We are in a recession now. It wasn't foreseen when Brexit was first talked of and during the referendum and during the last election.

'This recession due to Covid, some people say, may be the worst and the deepest recession for 300 years and, in that context, the idea of a no-deal Brexit on top of the Covid recession, I think, would be a disaster for people's jobs, for livelihoods, for businesses up and down the country.

'I thought it was very noticeable last week when businesses were saying the Government hasn't prepared the border properly, whether it is a deal or no-deal.

'They are not ready. What has this government being doing?'

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