Boris Johnson proposed a ‘SuperCanada’ free trade deal with the European Union last night, sharply criticising the government’s handling of Brexit negotiations.
Writing in his The Daily Telegraph column, Mr Johnson described Theresa May’s Chequers deal as ‘disastrous’, urging the Prime Minister to drop her plans for a ‘common rulebook’ with the EU within a specialised customs agreement.
The 4,000-word censure of Mrs May’s Brexit plans, which were rejected last week at a negotiations summit in Salzburg by EU leaders, described Johnson’s own plan based on the EU’s deal with Canada.
‘SuperCanada’ proposal detailed
Mr Johnson detailed zero tariffs and zero quotas on all imports and exports between the EU and UK and the drawing up of Mutual Recognition Agreements covering EU and UK goods regulations. He also rubbished government claims that the Irish border question would hinder his proposals.
Mr Johnson wrote: “The single greatest failing has been the government’s appalling and inexplicable delay in setting out a vision for what Brexit is.”
Justifying his ‘SuperCanada’ proposal, the former foreign secretary said: “Britain should seek the same freedoms and opportunities in its relations with the EU as any other independent and democratic country.”
May challenged over humiliation at Salzburg
In a frustrated speech last Friday, the Prime Minister attacked EU leaders’ outright rejection of her proposals in Salzburg, and reasserted that a Canada-style trade agreement would endanger the prevention of a hard border in Northern Ireland.
After Mrs May’s speech, the pound dropped from 1% to 1.5% lower against the dollar to $1.3068.
Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, challenged the government’s treatment of negotiations on BBC’s Question Time.
Mr Rees-Mogg declared: “I think we have let the European Union make the running in negotiations, we agreed to their establishment of the terms of negotiations and the timetable of the negotiations.”
Despite internal divisions around Brexit negotiations, the Conservative Party will go into their conference in Birmingham next week with a 6-point lead over Labour.