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Brexit / Prepare for a no deal Brexit, prime minister tells the country

But isles MP Alistair Carmichael says people are “sick and tired” of a failing government

Prime minister Boris Johnson making his Brexit statement on Friday. Photo: UK Government

A NO DEAL Brexit looks more likely than ever before after prime minister Boris Johnson said now was the time to get ready for the country to drop out of the EU without a trade deal in place.

In a televised address the prime minister said earlier on Friday: “Since we have only ten weeks until the end of the transition period on 1 January, I have to make a judgment about the likely outcome and to get us all ready.”

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael condemned Johnson’s stance as “Brexit melodrama” and added that “the buck stops with him” as it is his government that needs to be held to account “if we crash out”.

The prime minister said: “Given that they [the European Union] have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, and given that this summit appears explicitly to rule out a Canada-style deal, I have concluded that we should get ready for 1 January with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade.

“But for whatever reason it is clear from the summit that after 45 years of membership they are not willing – unless there is some fundamental change of approach – to offer this country the same terms as Canada.

“And so with high hearts and complete confidence we will prepare to embrace the alternative.

“And we will prosper mightily as an independent free trading nation, controlling our own borders, our fisheries, and setting our own laws.”

The prime minister’s spokesperson later said that there was “no point” in EU negotiators coming to London for the next round of trade talks.

Carmichael said a no deal Brexit scenario has been estimated to cost the UK approximately eight per cent of its long-term GDP, with agriculture one of the hardest-hit sectors.

“To go from ‘oven-ready’ to ‘no deal’ in less than nine months suggests utter incompetence from the prime minister and his government,” the MP said.

“People are sick and tired of this Brexit melodrama from the government. The deal was supposed to be done months ago and with the pandemic back at the top of our priorities we cannot afford these distractions.

“Does Johnson really think people want to have to worry about a no deal scenario on top of everything else we are dealing with?

“Many will suspect that this is yet more bluster from a feckless prime minister who has never planned more than five minutes ahead and now seeks to blame anyone else he can point to.”

The prime minister’s full statement can be found here.