Brexit bombshell: Boris Johnson hints UK may extend EU exit transition for two more years

Brexit bombshell: Boris Johnson hints UK may extend EU exit transition for two more years

Mr Johnson said the chances of a no deal exit were “vanishingly small” as he visited Wales. He described a scenario where Britain would ever a transition period prior to reaching a free trade agreement. The former Foreign Secretary said: “Some of the changes and adjustments necessary in the run-up to October 31, and a lot of which we have already done, will be crucial anyway if we are going to come out of the customs union, come out of the single market as we must in the next couple of years.”

The current transition period in the Theresa May withdrawal agreement is only a year long, but The Daily Telegraph report under the new plan, the backstop would not be part of the deal and an additional payment to Brussels might be paid.

Mr Johnson will visit Belfast on Wednesday with restoring the devolved assembly in Stormont on the agenda, as he meets leaders of the five major Northern Ireland parties.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Mr Johnson the EU was “united in its view” that the withdrawal agreement could not be reopened.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, however, told Channel 4: “If we do leave the European Union without a deal, while he said there would be protections for Welsh industry and Welsh agriculture, he couldn’t describe what those protections would be.”

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Mr Johnson reassured farmers that they would be supported in the event of a no deal departure, adding: “If their markets are going to be tricky, then we will help them to find new markets. We have interventions that are aimed to support their incomes.

“What the Government is working on now with a great deal of energy and confidence is to ensure the farming sector is totally prepared.”

Mr Johnson said the onus for preventing a no deal departure was on the EU: “If they understand that then I think we are going to be at the races. If they can’t compromise, if they really can’t do it, then clearly we have to get ready for a no-deal exit.”

Democratic Unionist Party leader and the most recent Northern Ireland first minister Arlene Foster has said: “It’s time for Dublin to dial down the rhetoric and work with the other EU nations to reach a deal which respects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.”

There has speculation that in a potential snap election, the Tories might end up forming a pact with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

Mr Farage has said the appointment of Dominic Cummings to Mr Johnson’s senior team rules that out: ”The appointment of Dominic Cummings as Boris Johnson’s special adviser in Number 10 means that there is no prospect of such a deal. The Tories want to crush the Brexit Party in the polls. But Johnson and Cummings may be in for a surprise. Lack of trust in the Conservatives is now a problem; many of us will only a believe in a clean-break Brexit when we see it.”

Mr Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle saw only the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, appointed by David Cameron, keep his role as a principal minister for one of the UK’s constituent countries.

Former Lord Commissioner of the Treasury Alister Jack has replaced David Mundell as Scotland Secretary, whilst Former Chief Whip Julian Smith has replaced Karen Bradley as Northern Ireland Secretary.

Neither Mr Mundell nor Mrs Bradley have retained positions on the front bench.

Published at Tue, 30 Jul 2019 23:03:00 +0000