Boris Johnson has said this evening that there is now a “strong possibility” that the UK will not strike a post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels and will leave the EU on no-deal terms.
Johnson’s statement comes after a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last night ended with both sides vowing to set a Sunday deadline for trade talks.
The pair said significant differences still remained between the two sides on fisheries and level playing field discussions, prompting fears that the UK may be headed for a no-deal Brexit on 31 December.
The pound fell again today as fears increase about a no-deal exit.
In a recorded statement released on Twitter this evening, Johnson said: “There is now a strong possibility, strong possibility, that we will have a solution that’s much more like an Australian relationship with the EU than a Canadian relationship with the EU.
“That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. There are plenty of ways, as I’ve said, that we can turn that to the advantage of both sides. There are plenty of opportunities in the UK.”
Johnson also sent a stark warning to the UK’s private sector, saying that they must increase preparations for a potential no-deal Brexit.
“Now is the time for the public and for businesses to get ready for 1 January, because believe me there’s going to be change either way,” he said.
“There’ll be change whether it’s a Canada-style deal or Australia-style deal.”
Brexit trade talks are at a dire stage, after seemingly little movement on key areas in the past few months.
The three biggest areas to be resolved are future EU fishing access to UK waters, business subsidy regulations as a part of level playing field talks and the overall governance of the deal.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and chief UK negotiator Lord David Frost have been wrangling over how much access it retains to the UK’s fishing waters next year.
It has been rumoured that the UK only want the EU to keep about 20 per cent of the fish it was allocated pre-Brexit, while the EU want closer to 80 per cent.