EU insiders said they expect “very little progress” to be made at next week’s discussions after both sides refused to be drawn into a deal on fisheries. Brussels has demanded guaranteed access to British waters for member states, a major red line for the UK in trade talks. However Boris Johnson has insisted the UK will “prosper mightily” even if it does not strike a trade deal with the EU.
The Prime Minister said during a visit to Solihull yesterday: “We’re ready for any eventuality, of course. But we must make sure that people understand that at the end of the year, whatever happens, we are leaving the EU.
“We will get through this. It’s vital that our partners understand that the UK is going to do what we need to do.
“If we need to have an Australia-style deal, an Australia-style solution, then that is what we will achieve and we will prosper mightily one way or the other.
“They could be sensible and give us a Canada-style solution, which after all they’ve given Canada, and I very much hope they will, but we’re ready for either eventuality.”
It comes after haulage bosses warned of “significant gaps” in border preparations.
Eight logistics organisations, including the Road Haulage Association (RHA) wrote to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to highlight their concerns that the UK-EU supply chain “will be severely disrupted” next year if issues are not resolved before the end of the Brexit transition period.
The group has requested a round-table meeting with Mr Gove, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to discuss areas including IT systems and physical border infrastructure.
The latest round of Brexit talks between David Frost and Michel Barnier will commence in Brussels on Tuesday.
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8am update: Tony Abbott keen to contribute in post-Brexit trade role
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott says he is looking forward to contributing his “expertise” in global commerce to help Britain in his new role as adviser to the UK Board of Trade.
Mr Abbott’s appointment has sparked a heated reaction in some quarters, with critics saying he is well known for holding misogynistic and homophobic views, as well as drawing attention to his scepticism on climate change.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson came out in support of the 62-year-old, Mr Abbott – who led Australia from 2013-15 – said he was “only too keen” to help the UK and looked forward to helping facilitate trade deals “between Britain and other countries, including Australia”.
Mr Abbott said in a statement on Twitter: “A UK-Australia trade deal, maximising the movement of goods, services and people is clearly in the best interests of both our countries.
“It’s important for the wider world that Britain make the most of its post-Brexit opportunities and I am proud to be playing a part.”