Boris Johnson said he will abandon EU rules after Brexit despite EU chiefs warning this would jeopardise a future trade deal.
The PM’s withdrawal deal sailed through the House of Commons yesterday, meaning the UK is all but certain to leave the bloc on January 31.
A negotiation showdown between Downing Street and Brussels is now on the cards, after the two sides clashed over the extent to which Britain should be tied into EU regulation in trade agreements.
The Prime Minister made it clear that he would pursue a hard Brexit by saying there would be ‘no alignment’ between Britian and the EU, despite their insistence this was a ‘must’ for any future relationship.
Michael Barnier has warned Britain must stick closely to Brussels’s standards on tax, state aid and the environment to secure a trade deal with the European Union.
And Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Mr Johnson’s pivot towards a ‘harder Brexit’ in the wake of his election landslide has made a deal with the bloc less likely.
It stems from fears the UK wanted to ‘undercut’ Europe on food, health and product safety after it exits.
Boris told MPs on Friday that the ‘oven was on’ when it came to delivering Brexit next year, but said there would be ‘no alignment’ to EU rules once the transition period ends in 2020.
He said: ‘The Bill ensures that the implementation period must end on December 31 next year, with no possibility of an extension, and it paves the way for a new agreement on our future relationship with our European neighbours, based on an ambitious free trade agreement.
‘This will be with no alignment on EU rules, but instead with control of our own laws, and close and friendly relations.’
Despite the Collison course ahead, the PM put on a smile today as he visited troops in Estonia.
He served them Christmas lunch and stressed the UK’s commitment to Nato and its defence of Estonia’s eastern border with Russia.