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Brexit news: Boris Johnson prepared to walk away from free trade deal, as Barnier insists UK must keep EU regulations

Boris Johnson has set out his stall on post-Brexit talks with Brussels – demanding a “Canada-style” free trade deal and vowing that Britain will not accept any EU rules on social protections and the environment.

The PM has said he would be willing to accept trade arrangements “more like Australia’s” if the EU does not agree. Acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey claimed Mr Johnson was simply re-branding a no-deal crash out scenario, attacking it as “no deal in all but name”.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Brussels was prepared to make an “exceptional offer” for a wide-ranging free trade agreement – but said that it was conditional on retaining EU rules across a whole set of areas to uphold a “level playing field”.

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of events at Westminster and beyond.
Johnson wants Australia-style trade deal – if he can’t get one similar to Canada
 
Boris Johnson is setting out his stall on post-Brexit trade talks today, and will vow that Britain will resist accepting any EU rules on social protections and the environment.
 
The PM will demand a “Canada-style” deal (almost no tariffs on goods), and accept no alignment with EU standards and no role for the European Court of Justice as arbiter. And if Johnson can’t get that, he wants a deal “more like Australia’s” (a much looser arrangement with widespread tariffs).
 
Speaking on Monday, the prime minister will say: “The choice is emphatically not ‘deal or no deal’.
 
“The question is whether we agree a trading relationship with the EU comparable to Canada’s – or more like Australia’s.”
 
Critics hit out at the suggestion that Britain could have a relationship akin to Australia with its biggest trading partner, with acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey calling it “no deal in all but name”.
 

UK will resist ‘EU rules on social and environmental protections’ in trade talks, Boris Johnson says

PM to deliver major speech setting out UK’s prior ties in trade talks with Brussels
Priti Patel to set out measures on prisoner release after Streatham attack
 
Home secretary Priti Patel is expected to address the Commons and set out further changes to the way the government wants to deal with those convicted of terrorism offences.
 
It has emerged that Sudesh Amman, the 20-year-old shot dead by police after he stabbed passers-by in Streatham, was automatically released from jail halfway through a sentence of three years and four months for possession of a bomb-making manual.
 
Boris Johnson has been pushing for changes to keep terror offenders in prison for longer, but Patel said the government would be announcing new plans on Monday.
 

Streatham terror attacker was being monitored by undercover police officers at time of stabbings

Undercover officers were following Sudesh Amman as part of 'proactive counterterrorism operation', Scotland Yard says
Michel Barnier urges UK to sign up to EU standards because of ‘proximity’
 
The EU’s chief negotiator will also make a speech today – setting out the bloc’s demands ahead of trade talks with the UK.
 
According to a leak seen by The Telegraph, Barnier will demand that Britain signs-up to Brussels benchmarks on standards because of its “geographic proximity and economic interdependence”, as well as the threat of “unfair competition by undercutting”.
 
His speech is expected to demand access to UK fishing waters – a red line for Brexiteers – and potentially include a proposal, first mooted in the Observer, to back Spain’s claim to Gibraltar by giving Madrid powers to exclude the overseas territory from any trade deal.
 
But Boris Johnson will try to slap down any suggestion Britain will make concessions in order to ratify a free trade pact similar to one agreed between the EU and Canada.
 
“There is no need for a free trade agreement to involve accepting EU rules on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar, any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules,” he is expected to say in his speech laying out his post-Brexit vision.
 
“The UK will maintain the highest standards in these areas - better, in many respects, than those of the EU - without the compulsion of a treaty and it is vital to stress this now.”
 
The PM will tell an audience of business figures and global ambassadors this morning that his government has “made our choice” in wanting to set its own rules and regulations after 31 December.
 
EU negotiating chief Michel Barnier (Reuters)
 
Emily Thornberry pleads for nominations
 
The labour leadership contender has told party members to “get on with it” and nominate her so she can secure a position in the final round of the contest.
 
Thornberry has only nine of the required 33 nominations she needs from Constituency Labour Party (CLP) groups across the country to get on the ballot before the Valentine’s Day deadline.
 
She used a Cardiff hustings event to plead: “Why don’t we give me a chance to be involved in this debate? So please, would you just get on with it … Get on and nominate me.”
 

Emily Thornberry tells Labour members to 'get on with it' and nominate her for leader

Plea from shadow foreign secretary comes as she faces being eliminated from contest
Streatham attack ‘preventable’, claims Sadiq Khan
 
The mayor of London has expressed anger at Boris Johnson’s government over its failure to stop a “foreseeable and preventable” terror attack in Streatham.
 
Police killed 20-year-old Isis supporter Sudesh Amman after he mounted a knife attack on passers-by in south London on Sunday.
 
The London mayor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What makes me angry is we were speaking probably three months ago about the London Bridge attack. In my view, both these attacks were both foreseeable and preventable.
 
“These were men convicted of terrorist related offences and I have been frustrated for some time about changes to the law in 2012 which took away from judges the power they used to have to give a sentence to protect the public - an indeterminate sentence - and to make sure people weren't released unless we knew they were no longer a danger.”
 

Sadiq Khan angry at Boris Johnson's government over 'preventable' Streatham terror attack

'I'm angry because some of the reassurances we were given by the government in November haven't been realised,' says London mayor
Labour urges PM to guarantee no chlorinated chicken
 
The opposition will today demand Boris Johnson guarantees future trade deals won’t see animal welfare standards diminished as MPs prepare to vote on the Agriculture Bill.
 
It follows fears a US-UK deal could see the market flooded with cheaper produce – including controversial products like chlorinated chicken and hormone-loaded beef.
 
Labour’s shadow secretary for the environment Luke Pollard said: “British farmers must not be undercut by cheap US food produced to lower animal welfare and environmental standards after Brexit. 
 
“This is what Labour MPs will be arguing in the Commons today over the Agriculture Bill.”
 
Boris Johnson inspecting chicken products in Deeside during election campaign (AFP)
 
Is ‘Australia-style’ deal a no-deal Brexit?
 
Plenty of scepticism about the idea of the government obtaining an “Australian-style” deal if it can’t strike a full Canada-style free trade agreement with the EU.
 
As Sky News’ Beth Rigby points out, Australia doesn’t actually have a free trade deal with the EU.
 
The Financial Times’ political editor George Parker said it would be similar to moving onto World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules – something we heard a lot about when the threat of no-deal Brexit was on the horizon.
 
Packer said No 10 was engaged in a “rebranding of a “no trade deal” Brexit – ie WTO with tariffs, serious friction and a bit of mitigation – as an “Australia-style” deal.”
 
 
UK doesn’t need trade deal with EU, says Treasury minister
 
The chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak has been speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News, and claimed the UK did not actually need to do a trade deal with the EU.
 
“We don’t need to. We have left ... There are lots of different ways that countries trade with each other. We trade with lots of countries around the world, the EU trades with lots of countries around the world.
 
“They trade with some countries as part of the customs union. They trade with other countries, like Canada, through a free trade agreement. And they trade with countries like Australia with specific little agreements here and there for sectors. So there are a range of options we can pursue.”
 
Asked by Burley if “no deal” was still on the table, he replied: “No. We have a deal, and we have now left the EU. So that is now just off the table.”
 
No such thing as free access, says EU Commission chief
 
European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen has been speaking ahead of a speech by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
 
After “a very good continental breakfast” with British EU staff, she sent a warning to Boris Johnson about asking for too much.
 
“There is no such thing as the right to free access to the single market. It will always be a mix of rights and obligations,” she said.
 
Barnier demands UK abides by EU standards to uphold ‘level playing field’
 
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has begun speaking in Brussels about what the bloc expects from the trade talks with the UK.
 
He said Brussels was ready to offer a “highly ambitious” trade deal with zero tariffs on goods. The “exceptional offer” is dependent on aligning with EU standards and making sure competition remaining “open and fair”.
 
In remarks that won’t please No 10, Barnier said there needed to be a “level playing field” on regulatory standards “over the long term”.
 
“That means mechanisms to uphold the high standards we have on social, environmental, climate, tax and state aid matters,” he said.
 
Barnier also said that Britain’s new status outside the EU meant the terms for the UK will be “less favourable”.
 
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (Reuters)
 
Negotiations can begin in just over a fortnight, says Barnier
 
Michel Barnier said trade deal negotiations with the UK can begin “immediately” after a mandate is approved by the EU Council on 20 February – just over two weeks away.
 
The EU chief negotiator also said the more the UK was prepared to maintain common standards with the EU, the higher quality access it would get to EU markets.
 
“This will be up to the UK to decide. Will it continue to adhere to Europe's societal and regulatory model in the future or will it seek to diverge?” he said.
 
“The UK’s answer to this question will be fundamental to the level of our ambition of our future relationship. The UK must know this.”
 
He also said: “Goods entering the EU from the UK would be subject to regulatory checks,” he said.
 
“These are the automatic and mechanical consequences of the UK's choices and businesses must adapt now to this new reality.”
 
PM refuses to say ‘Brexit’ anymore
 
Boris Johnson has begun his speech in south-east London by saying he refuses to use the word Brexit.
 
“I won’t even mention the name of the controversy, except that it begins with the letter B and it’s receding in the past behind us,” he told an audience of business figures and global ambassadors.
 
He extolled the virtues of freed trade as “God’s diplomacy” but warned that freed trade “is being choked” by protectionist approach to tariffs.
 
“The protectionists are gaining ground, from Brussels, to China to Washington, tariffs are being waved around like cudgels.”
 
Johnson talked about the UK being ready to throw off “Clark Kent spectacles” and be a free trade superhero – ready to play a game of “multi-dimensional chess” to strike several trade deals at once.
 
Boris Johnson at Old Naval College in Greenwich (AP)
 
‘We want trade deal similar to Canada,’ says PM who backs Australian-type deal as plan B
 
Boris Johnson has argued the UK does not need to abide by EU standards, insisting the UK will maintain the “highest standards” in food, hygiene and animal welfare post-Brexit.
 
Dismissing “conspiracy theorists” and “mumbo jumbo” he insists the NHS will not be on the table in any trade talks with Washington.
 
“We’ve made a choice – we want a comprehensive, free trade agreement similar to Canada. But, in the unlikely event we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing withdrawal agreement with the EU.
 
“The choice is emphatically not ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’. We have a deal. We’ve done it. And it did indeed turn out, as I correctly prophesised, to be oven ready.
 
“The question is whether we agree a trading relationship with the EU comparable to Canada’s or more like Australia’s. I have no doubt in either case the UK will prosper mightily.”
 
Boris Johnson speaking at Old Naval College (AP)
 
‘Americans look pretty well-nourished to me’, says PM
 
Boris Johnson has been challenged over his reference to Australia-style trade arrangements – asked if it’s little more than a “euphemism” for a no-deal crash-out scenario.
 
He dodges the question by claiming he already has a deal with the EU – the withdrawal agreement.
 
Challenged again over the fact he has not yet agreed a trade deal, he simply said: “We’ve got a deal – it’s a great deal. We’re out.”
 
Asked about his reference to “mumbo jumbo” talk over the UK-US trade deal and fears over chlorinated chicken as part of dropping in food safety standards.
 
“I look at Americans and they look pretty well-nourished to me … let’s take some of the paranoia out of this.”
 
He is asked whether the word Brexit is now “banned”, Johnson said: “It’s not banned. It’s just over ... it’s gone. I wouldn’t say it’s like the big bang or the Norman Conquest. It’s just that it’s receding into history behind us.”
 
Boris Johnson speaking at Old Naval College (AP)
 
‘I’ve come to the end of my patience with automatic early release’, says PM
 
The prime minister was also asked about the Streatham attack and possible changes to the probation system with regards to prisoners convicted of terror offences.
 
He said: “I’ve come to the end of my patience with the idea of automatic early release,” he said, but only said he wanted “some process of scrutiny” before prisoners were released, suggesting new checks would be introduced.
 
He was also asked about possible xenophobia in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU – and the case under investigation in Norwich, in which a poster demands people living in council flats speak English or move out.
 
He didn’t appear to be familiar with the case.
 
“Of course I think it’s a wonderful thing that people should learn English. And people who have been living here a long time should definitely do that and be helped to do that.”
 
Boris Johnson taking reporters questions (AP)
 
Specialists can turn terror offenders around, claims Rory Stewart
 
The independent London mayoral candidate has been asked about the Streatham attack and what should happen in response.
 
“You have to have the systems in place in prison and after prison,” he said. “The thing that matters most is specialist counter-terror expertise in prison and in probation to make sure we turn those people around. We don’t have that yet and that’s what we need.”
 
Ministers to make statement on legislation after Streatham terror attack
 
Justice secretary Robert Buckland will deliver a statement about 6pm on the incident on Sunday, where Isis supporter Sudesh Amman stabbed passersby before being shot dead by police.
 
Also to come - statements on Brexit and an update on the Coronavirus outbreak.

EU national parliaments may not get to vote on Brexit trade deal

The national parliaments of EU member states may not be given a vote to approve the EU's Brexit trade deal with the UK, Brussels has indicated.

EU officials said they are "confident" that the scope of the agreement with Britain will be narrow enough that parliaments do not have to be given a vote – but said it might be decided to give them one anyway.

Under EU law, there are two types of trade agreements: "EU-only" deals and "mixed" deals. A deal is "EU-only" if it only covers policy areas that are the responsibility of the EU, while the latter cross into the prerogatives of member states.

Boris Johnson delivers speech in front of bland backdrop
 
Extraordinary pictures from the PM's speech in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
 
In classic No10 style, Johnson spoke in front of a bland backdrop preventing viewers from seeing the ornate surroundings.
 
Picture by: Frank Augstein/PA Wire/PA Images
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