James Cleverly insists Boris Johnson has delivered his 'oven-ready' Brexit deal

James Cleverly on BBC Breakfast

James Cleverly on BBC Breakfast - Credit: BBC

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has insisted that Boris Johnson has delivered his "oven-ready" Brexit deal, and that the UK still "holds all the cards" in talks with the EU.

Cleverly appeared on BBC Breakfast amid questions over whether Brexiteers were right with their predictions that it would be the "easiest deal in history" and that the odds favoured the British over Brexit.

Presenter Dan Walker said: "If you look at some of the quotes from months go by from various member of government. The prime minister called it 'oven-ready', remember Liam Fox called it 'the easiest deal in history', Michael Gove said 'we hold all the cards'. Why are you shaking your head at that?"

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Disagreeing with the presenter's line of questioning, he explained: "That 'oven-ready' that the prime minister was referring to was the Withdrawal Agreement...

"The prime minister was clear the reference to 'oven-ready' was to the Withdrawal Agreement, which as promised was delivered and vote through shortly after the election when he secured a majority."

Speaking about Fox's comments, he said: "The precision of language matters, what Liam said is this 'should be', and indeed the point he was making was because we were starting from a pre-existing relationship it 'should be' easy to arrange something".

On Gove's remarks about holding all the cards, he said:  "There is a huge amount of demand - certainly in the parts of the world I represent but also in other parts of the world - to really engage commercially with the UK. We are a global player, we are one of the biggest economies in the world, we are a real prize for many countries.

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"Outside the EU we can actually sign trade agreements more quickly with more countries than previously, so we do indeed hold all the cards.

“I think if the EU recognise this they will see that actually making a few small but significant concessions can get this deal done and that will be in their interest and in our interest.”

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