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The Prime Minister's article in the Daily Telegraph: 12 September 2020

There has been much coverage of matters regarding the departure of the UK from the European Union and the subsequent negotiations over a trade deal. Both sides have apparently adopted inflexible stances on a number of issues and the UK is now set to introduce a new bill that allegedly breaks international law by altering the terms of the agreement over the UK's withdrawal from the EU, particularly in respect of Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister wrote an article on this for the Daily Telegraph newspaper but also published it on the government's website for those who do not read the paper. In the interests of wider possible readership, while we acknowledge publication by the Telegraph, we also reproduce the full text here.

Published 12 September 2020


Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

It is now more than seven months since this country left the EU on Jan 31, and since then we have been working hard to build what I am sure will be a great new future relationship. We want a thoroughgoing free-trade deal. We want a deal like the one between the EU and Canada; and since we currently conform with every jot and tittle of EU regulation, and since we have been loyal and paid-up members for more than four decades, it strikes me that if the EU is willing to offer these terms to Canada, then it makes sense to offer the same to us.

Our partners know that whatever happens, the UK is their friend, their biggest single export market, and committed forever to the peace and security of the European continent. They know that there are ways in which we want to continue and even deepen our relations – not just in trade. As I have never tired of saying, we have left the EU, but we have not left Europe. But they also know – or at least they know now - that leaving the EU means that the UK is serious about its newfound sovereignty. In forging our new relationships, we can’t have our lives or our economy regulated by the European Court; we must have the right to devise our own laws and regulations. And we must have sole control of our spectacular marine wealth – our fisheries.

Those are some of our conditions, and in the last few months I believe we have made considerable progress. If both sides want it, there is a great free trade deal there to be done. So I have become anxious in the last few weeks to discover that there is an obstacle. Our negotiators believe that there may be a serious misunderstanding about the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement that we reached last October. You may remember those days. They were torrid. We were negotiating with one hand tied behind our back, since parliament had voted to deprive the UK side of the right to walk away. We had a deadline of October 31 – which parliament decided to flout. MPs were in a state of constant turmoil and recrimination. And yet, provided it was applied in good faith, the Withdrawal agreement we reached was extremely good.