EU trade deal “enormously likely” in 2020, Johnson says

Published by Scott Challinor on January 14th 2020, 9:40am

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that he is “very, very confident” that a trade deal between the UK and the EU can be agreed by the December 31 cut-off point for the Brexit transitional period.

Speaking with the BBC’s Dan Walker in his first major TV interview since last month’s general election, Johnson said that the UK and EU would begin work on a “fantastic new partnership after January 31, saying that the agreement of a trade deal with the bloc this year is “enormously likely”.

Johnson did concede, however, that the government would “budget for a complete failure of common sense”, in case a trade deal cannot be agreed on time.

The prime minister also revealed that the government is exploring the possibility of restoring the Big Ben chime for the moment Brexit occurs at 23:00 GMT on January 31.

The Palace of Westminster is currently undergoing renovation works and bringing the bell back into use for the one night is estimated to come at a cost of £500,000.

Johnson said: “We are working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong”.

Covering other issues, the Conservative leader also appealed to his US ally Donald Trump to strike an alternative deal to the existing Iran agreement in order to prevent the gulf state acquiring nuclear arms, and to positively “engage” with Iranian citizens and pursue de-escalation in the Middle East.

During the interview, Johnson assured that the UK would support the current deal until a “replacement” can be agreed, but warned that “from the American perspective, it’s a flawed deal”.

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
January 14th 2020, 9:40am

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