LONDON: Commenting over post-Brexit situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has claimed his trade deal with the EU allows the UK to have its cake and eat it. He refused to acknowledge it will mean new barriers to trade, in an interview BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
He conceded that there would be “changes” for business when the UK leaves EU trading rules on Thursday. But he insisted the deal would allow the UK to “go our own way but also have free trade” with the EU.
Critics had said “you couldn’t have free trade with the EU unless you conformed with the EU’s laws”, said the PM. and “that that was having your cake and eating it. That has turned out not to be true,” he added. “I want you to see that this is a cakeist treaty.”
It comes as MPs approved the legislation implementing the deal by 521 votes to 73 in a Commons vote. It now goes to the House of Lords and is expected to become law later on Wednesday.
Mr Johnson was repeatedly pushed to admit that businesses and citizens will face new hurdles when the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union at 2300 GMT on Thursday. The trade deal, agreed with Brussels on Christmas Eve, avoids tariffs, or taxes, being imposed on imports from the EU.
But it does mean more paperwork for businesses and people travelling to EU countries, such as customs declarations, export health checks, regulatory checks, rules of origin checks and conformity assessments.
Asked to concede that there will be more red tape, the PM said: “There will be changes. And we’ve been very clear with people that they have to get ready for 1 January, things will work differently. “But from the point of view of UK exporters, for instance, they’ll now have the advantage, that they’ll only have one set of forms they have to fill out for export to around the whole world.
Boris Johnson has urged MPs to “open a new chapter in our national story” by backing his post-Brexit trade deal with the EU in a Commons vote later. The PM said the deal would allow the UK to take “control of our laws and our national destiny”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has ordered his MPs to back it, saying: “A thin deal is better than no deal.”