October is the deadline for a Brexit deal to be concluded with the European Union. Comprehensive trade deals usually take years, not weeks.
First published in August 2020.
Last October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally signed the ‘heads of agreement’ with the EU on a future trade agreement (called ‘the political declaration’).
Mr Johnson then went into the general election boasting that he had an ‘oven-ready deal’. He no doubt won votes on the back of it, promising to ‘Get Brexit Done’.
But now we know the truth.
The UK is backtracking on all elements of the future trade deal it had agreed with the EU in good faith. Our Parliament voted to accept that deal. So did the European Parliament. And so too the leaders of the EU27.
But the talks are going around in circles. Worse, going backwards, not forwards, according to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.
The EU wants to stick to the terms of a future relationship with the UK that was agreed in principle – “nothing more, but nothing less”. But the UK government, it seems, wants to get out of it.
Did Boris Johnson agree to the arrangement in bad faith, just so he could boast to the electorate about his oven-ready deal to help him win the general election?
It now seems that way.
In June, Mr Barnier announced that, “In all areas the UK continues to backtrack on the commitments it has undertaken in the political declaration.”
Nothing has changed.
At a press conference on Friday morning Mr Barnier said, “Today, at this stage, an agreement between the UK and the European Union seems unlikely.”
He added, “I simply do not understand why we are wasting valuable time.”
The talks will continue next month.
But what, honestly, can be achieved by October, the deadline for a deal to be concluded? Comprehensive trade deals usually take years, not weeks.
Mr Johnson’s oven-ready deal was a con.
There’s no deal.
And nothing is ready.🔷
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