Boris Johnson makes bizarre Brexit demands of staff – leaked memo

Conservative MPs have been told to refer to a “Canada-style free trade agreement” or the “2019 deal” when talking about the pair’s future relationship in public. The “UK/EU negotiations master script”, which has been seen by HuffPost UK, stated “Brexit” should only be spoken about in reference to “a historical event that took place on 31 January 2020”. It also revealed the UK is prepared to walk away from the EU trade talks in June without a trade deal and without any government forecast of what the cost to jobs and businesses will be.

The script said: “Stress that the UK’s priority in the negotiations is to ensure that we restore our economic and political independence on January 1, 2021.

“That is the government’s primary objective.

“If asked to expand, we will ensure that we will have the right to regulate and are not constrained by EU law or the CJEU [Court of Justice of the European Union].”

MPs will also have to tone down their use of language and avoid saying “ambitious”, “unique” and “bespoke” when talking about a deal.

The script said: “Do not give the impression that we are seeking a unique or novel agreement.

“Stress that we are looking for a deal based on EU precedent.”

The document also emphasised the UK is “committed to working in a speedy and determined fashion”.

This is in the hope a deal could be finalised by September.

But is also warned: “If that does not seem to be the case at the June meeting, the government will need to decide whether the UK’s attention should move away from negotiations and focus solely on continuing domestic preparations to exit the transition period in an orderly fashion.”

Britain’s demand for a trade deal along the lines of one between the EU and Canada is also a focal point of the document.

This deal increases quotas of goods which can be exported without extra charges.

It also ensures there are few taxes on imports, apart from poultry, meat and eggs.

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But the EU has ruled out a Canada-style agreement due to the UK being a greater threat to the bloc’s market as it does more business with this country than Canada.

The EU also fears Britain could undercut its market by lowering standards.

Cabinet office minister Michael Gove told parliament today: “We want the best possible trading relationship with the EU, but in pursuit of a deal we will not trade away our sovereignty.”

He added: “Geography is no reason to undermine democracy.

“To be clear, we will not be seeking to dynamically align with EU rules on EU terms governed by EU laws and EU institutions.”

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said Brussels had taken “note” of what Mr Gove said earlier today.

He tweeted: “We will stick to all our prior commitments in the political declaration.

“We want an ambitious and fair partnership with the UK in the future.”

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