Brexit: Johnson says EU equivalence is ‘not sensible’ for UK
The Prime Minister travelled to Brussels for talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday evening, but neither were able to break the impasse in trade negotiations. Ahead of the trip to the Belgian capital, Sir Ivan Rogers, the former UK ambassador to the EU, suggested Mr Johnson did not want a deal with Brussels.
The former civil servant said European negotiations believed the meeting was “just a necessary step in the framing of the blame game for a ‘no deal’ outcome”.
Speaking to Politico, Sir Ivan said: “If I were advising someone who actively wanted a deal, I would have been advising him to get heavily engaged in serious face-to-face discussions at top-level very much earlier.
“If I were advising someone who did not much care about a deal but wanted to be seen by the British public to have tried his utmost, then I might be doing my first serious face-to-face meeting with the Commission president this week.”
A subsequent poll of almost 4,000 Express.co.uk readers has found most people believe the Prime Minister does want to reach a trade deal with Brussels.
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The survey conducted on Thursday December 10 from 11.19am to 9.00pm asked 3,924 Express.co.uk readers, after no deal accusation, do you think Boris Johnson even WANTS a deal?
The results showed 49 percent (1,942) of readers think the UK wants an agreement and voted “yes”.
In the contested survey, 46 percent (1,801) of readers were not convinced Mr Johnson wants a deal and voted “no”.
Meanwhile, just five percent (181) of those asked remained unsure and voted “don’t know”.
The poll sparked a huge debate amongst Express.co.uk readers who let their opinions known in the comments section of the survey.
One reader said: “Of course he does, otherwise he would’ve called time after the 1st deadline came. Boris should’ve walked away on a no deal, we who voted leave would’ve been glad, our businesses would have had more time to set things in place.
“If a trade deal does happen, then he will have to come clean on what he gave away for it.”
A second user said: “Boris wants a deal but not the one that the EU are now offering, it’s not FAIR.”
A third commented: “I think like most sensible people he would prefer a deal that respects the sovereignty and integrity of the United Kingdom.
“If however that is not an option and Brussels stick to their unrealistic and intransigent demands I believe he will take the no deal option, not least because he knows the consequences for both himself and the Conservative party if he does not.”
Meanwhile, a fourth said: “No Deal, WTO is the only way forward for freedom and prosperity!”
Both the Prime Minister and Ms von der Leyen have agreed a decision on the future of the negotiations must be taken by Sunday.
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Earlier today, Mr Johnson insisted the Government would continue to do “everything we possibly can” to strike an agreement with Brussels.
But he added there would need to be some movement from the EU side and explained the “deal on the table is really not at the moment right”.
The Prime Minister has told his Cabinet to increase no deal planning in order to leave the bloc on Australian-style terms.
He said: “So what I told the Cabinet this evening is to get on and make those preparations.
“We’re not stopping talks, we’ll continue to negotiate but looking at where we are I do think it’s vital that everyone now gets ready for that Australian option.”
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