It is less than 24 hours after Brussels and London agreed to two more rounds of trade talks – one in London next week, and another in Brussels the week after, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told the UK that he will seek a “no-deal” Brexit unless there is a “fundamental change of approach” from the EU.
On the back of this, sterling sank to a session low against the dollar as Johnson warned Britons to “get ready for no-deal”, though it quickly rebounded off its low of the day and has since been swinging around in volatile trade.
The PMs remarks follow tweets from his lead negotiator, Lord David Frost, who expressed disappointment in the EU’s negotiating position.”
Boris Johnson has accused Brussels of failing to negotiate “seriously” as he put pressure on EU negotiators for more concessions to come from the their side. It appears clear that Brussels doesn’t want a more comprehensive “Canada-style” deal, and Boris said his office would instead seek an “Australia”-style deal, which is a far less “comprehensive” option.
“I have to make a judgement about likely outcome…given [EU] have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months and given this summit appears explicitly to rule out Canada style deal, I’ve concluded we must get ready for arrangements like Australia’s.”
“Unless there’s a fundamental change of approach, we’re going to go to the Australia solution, and we should do it with great confidence,” he said.
He then warned businesses across Briton to prepare, in the clearest way so far, for a “no deal” scenario. This will surely please the hard line Brexiteers both in his party and in the general public. It may also repair some of the damage caused to his perception by the general public in light of the recent publicity the UK porous borders have had with organizations like MigrationWatch criticizing the how easy it is to access British shores
“Now is the time for our businesses, hauliers and travellers to get ready… and of course we are willing to discuss practicalities”
Boris has said that he’d be willing to hear from Brussels if they came back with a “fundamental change of approach”. Otherwise, the UK will leave the single market and customs union without a deal on Jan 1.
The pound’s bounce off the daily lows following the speech underlines the fact that many currency traders expect this to go to the wire, with a last-minute deal still possible.