Boris Johnson to hold trade talks with Trump in case deal with EU fails

PUBLISHED: 11:14 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:14 14 January 2020

Boris Johnson with US president Donald Trump. Picture: Saul Leob/Getty Images.

Boris Johnson with US president Donald Trump. Picture: Saul Leob/Getty Images.

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Boris Johnson has confirmed he will hold trade talks with the US at the same time as the EU - in case they fail.

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The prime minister said it was "epically likely" that the UK would strike a comprehensive trade deal with the EU by the end of 2020 - when the transition period ends.

However, he warned that "you always have to budget for a complete failure of common sense".

His comments follow reports that the UK would seek to conduct parallel post-Brexit trade talks with the US and EU from February, a tactic reportedly favoured by Liz Truss and Dominic Raab to pressurise the bloc.

He told BBC Breakfast: "Obviously you always have to budget for a complete failure of common sense, that goes without saying, but I'm very, very, very confident that we'll get a (deal).

"This is not about a deal, this is about building a great new partnership. And from January 31, what we're going to do is start working with our friends and partners around the world - not just with the EU.

"We're going to start building new relationships with friends and partners around the world."

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on January 31, but will enter a transition period until the end of the year.

Johnson has insisted he will not push back the deadline, but critics claim that the timescale is too tight to reach a new deal.

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