Boris Johnson today warns Brussels that in five weeks' time he will refrain from the trade talks unless the EU "reconsiders" its demands.
In a harshly worded ultimatum, the prime minister says it is “pointless” to continue stalled trade talks beyond October 15 if EU leaders are to hold a major summit in Brussels.
Mr Johnson says there is "still an agreement to be had" but that he "cannot and will not compromise the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country in order to maintain it," such as freedom the UK laws to become self-employed and fish its own waters.
The development came as the UK reportedly plans to tear apart pieces of ministers for the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU in January – a move that could risk further damaging hopes for the deal.
Mr Johnson insists that a no-deal exit would still be a "good outcome" from which the UK would "thrive" if it took advantage of its new freedoms outside the EU.
Boris Johnson says there is "still an agreement to be had" but he cannot and will not compromise on the basics of what it means to be an independent country to get it.
"We have to reach an agreement with our European friends by the European Council on October 15th if it is to come into force by the end of the year," he says. “So there is no point in thinking about schedules that go beyond this point. If we can't come to an agreement by then, I don't see a free trade agreement between us and we should both accept that and move on. & # 39;
The Prime Minister's comments come ahead of tomorrow's crunch talks in London between his chief negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier. Lord Frost yesterday vowed that he would not "blink" at the EU's demands to accept continued oversight of Brussels over key areas of UK law.
He called on Mr Barnier to "take our position seriously" and act now to save talks. Lord Frost said Britain was under no circumstances willing to be a "client state" of Brussels, adding, "We will not compromise the basics of controlling our own laws."
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said negotiations were approaching a "moment of reckoning" this week – and warned that if Brussels does not give in, thousands of jobs across the EU will be put at risk. Mr Raab said there would be a "significant disadvantage" for EU member states' economies in the absence of a trade deal, with exports of cars and other goods likely to be affected.
The Prime Minister's comments come tomorrow ahead of the crunch talks in London between his negotiator David Frost (left) and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier (right).
The Department of International Trade will launch an advertising campaign today to warn EU companies that they need to prepare for the changes that will come when the Brexit transition period ends at the end of the year.
The trade talks on the EU's demands on fisheries and the so-called “level playing field” have been stalled for weeks.
Brussels wants EU trawlers to have their current access to UK fishing grounds forever guaranteed. Mr Raab told BBC's Andrew Marr that this was unacceptable, adding: “After the UK fisheries and fishing industry have been fairly decimated due to EU membership, the EU argues that we have control over access to our own Should keep fishing permanently low. This can not be right. & # 39;
An even bigger sticking point is the EU's insistence that the UK continue to follow EU laws after Brexit to ensure a level playing field for continental businesses.
Talks on Mr Barnier's request for details of the new state aid regime in the UK are currently suspended before other areas of negotiation are dealt with. State aid is the set of rules that cover state support and subsidies to weak industries.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab (pictured) said the negotiations were about to be a "moment of reckoning" this week
Mr Raab said the EU could not "credibly worry" that the current Conservative government is likely to push for stronger subsidies than some existing member states. But he said it was a "principle" that Britain should make its own rules.
A government source added last night, “It is a question of where decisions are made. We had a vote in this country to regain control and we will not come back to that. & # 39; The Prime Minister stressed today that he was aiming for a simple free trade agreement, like the one negotiated between the EU and Canada.
He added: “If the EU is ready to reconsider its current positions and agree to that, I will be delighted. But we cannot and will not compromise the basics of what it means to be an independent country to get it. & # 39;
Some senior ministers are privately concerned that the UK is unwilling to face the effects of leaving the EU without a trade deal later this year.
It would leave Britain's trade on World Trade Organization terms, with tariffs on some goods in both directions. The freight forwarders have warned of an interruption to the supply lines if there is no agreement on border controls.
Withdrawal agreement U-turn via Ulster
The UK is planning a bill this week to repeal key parts of the withdrawal agreement, it was reported last night.
Sections of the Single Market Act due to be released this Wednesday are believed to "remove" the legal force of the Brexit bill passed last October.
This will lead the UK to forego promises in controversial areas like state aid and Northern Irish customs, the Financial Times reported.
Such a move could be viewed as malicious by the EU and further damage hopes for an agreement.
A pro-EU protester holds a large homemade sign over the Brexit border in Ireland during the 2018 referendum march
However, Eurosceptics have long complained that the terms of the deal with Northern Ireland are unacceptable and could undermine the Union by creating a trade border in the Irish Sea.
A Brussels insider told the FT the move would "clearly and deliberately" undermine the Northern Ireland agreement, which was created to avoid a hard border with the republic.
Last week, EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned that "accurate implementation of the readmission agreement" was critical to the success of trade talks.
"It's a very blunt instrument," the FT insider told the FT. "The bill explicitly states that the government reserves the right to establish its own regime by creating UK law directly against the obligations of the readmission agreement and realizing that doing so will violate international law. "
A government spokesman said the Northern Ireland Protocol was "working hard to resolve open issues".
He added, "As a responsible government, we are considering fallback options in the event that this is not achieved in order to protect the communities in Northern Ireland." Under the take-back agreement, the UK has to inform Brussels of any state aid decisions that would affect Northern Ireland.
Provincial businesses are also required to file customs papers when shipping goods to the rest of the UK.
But clauses in the Single Market bill, due to be released this week, will soon force UK courts to obey UK law rather than the deal made with what weakens the current protocol in the deal.
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