Minister denies Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal was not ‘oven ready’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a freshly baked pie while wearing a 'get Brexit done' apron. Phot

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a freshly baked pie while wearing a 'get Brexit done' apron. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA

Environment secretary George Eustice has denied that Boris Johnson's Brexit deal was not 'oven ready', saying that they are attempting to tie up 'loose ends' surrounding the agreement.

Appearing on the Today programme, Eustice explained: 'The deal was always very clear, it had the Northern Ireland protocol, it set out the arrangements that would prevent the need for any checks along the Northern Ireland border but there were also one or two finer points of detail that still had to be resolved'.

'Michael Gove is leading on that for us and they've been working through some of these very technical issues.

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'All we're really saying is that once that process is concluded there may still be one or two loose ends and we just need the ability to give people the certainty they need to legislate to give that clarity – that's all this is about.'

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Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Eustice did not say that no-deal was back on the table, but said that the European Union appeared to be in denial about the UK's desire to become an independent country.

'The prime minister has been clear, we're not after anything exceptional or special really'.

'We understand the EU's position on these things but we do think an agreement along the lines of the agreement the EU has with Canada, a fairly standard but quite ambitious free trade agreement, is something worth doing and we stand ready to do that.

'You will have noticed the European Union have been reluctant to engage on that basis and appear to be somewhat in denial about the fact that we do genuinely want to be an independent country so those negotiations have not been easy.

'What the prime minister has really said today is we do need to give businesses certainty some time soon and so we have to reach some kind of conclusion by the middle of October otherwise we have to plan on the basis that there will be no further negotiated outcome and we will trade with the EU in the way that Australia does at the moment.'

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