Boris Johnson threat to walk out of Brexit talks in June if deal looks unlikely
Boris Johnson will threaten to walk out of trade talks with the European Union in June unless a deal looks on the cards.
The Prime Minister will at the same time prepare for a hard World Trade Organisation departure from the bloc at the end of the year.
Mr Johnson has today published his red lines for the next 10-months of talks – setting the UK on collision course with Brussels.
The 30-page document sets out the UK's plans to insist on full control over key areas including state aid, workers' rights, environmental standards and fishing rights.
It heralds major rows over areas including business competition – the so-called "level playing field" – after No 10 junked previous commitments to Brussels.
But walking away from the talks ahead of a crunch Brussels summit in June could deliver a huge blow to the economy.
However, Downing Street has indicated that it is a price worth paying to leave the EU on our own terms.
Of the June summit, the document says: "The Government would hope that, by that point, the broad outline of an agreement would be clear and be capable of being rapidly finalised by September.
"If that does not seem to be the case at the June meeting, the Government will need to decide whether the UK's attention should move away from negotiations and focus solely on continuing domestic preparations to exit the transition period in an orderly fashion."
The Government will consult businesses and economists about the impact of the UK's trade deal plans – but appears unlikely to publish the results.
Ministers have stressed they will not accept any EU rules after the transition period finishes at the end of this year.
Mr Johnson has also ruled out any extension. Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, insisted on Wednesday that Britain should honour commitments given by Mr Johnson in a non-legally binding political declaration last October.
He banged the podium and said: “All the words count".
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