Pound slides as Johnson threatens hard Brexit

Pound slides as Johnson threatens hard Brexit”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlines his government's negotiating stance with the European Union after Brexit, during a key speech at the Old Naval College in Greenwich, London, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.

The comments come amid reports that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a speech on Monday in which he is expected to confirm his wish for a Canada-style agreement.

Tensions have been escalating between London and Brussels in the weeks before the United Kingdom had exited the bloc, with European leaders insisting on the United Kingdom maintaining a "level playing field" as the anti-competition EU does not want the Brexit Britain to become a rival for business and investment on the continent.

He told reporters: "We must now agree on specific and effective guarantees to ensure a level playing field for the long term".

European leaders have said that Britain will not be able to get a deal like Canada's if it breaks significantly with EU rules on food safety, environmental standards, workers' rights and other matters affecting public well-being.

Dominic Raab has rebuffed Michel Barnier, saying the EU's chief Brexit negotiator is "wrong" for claiming that the UK's demands will lead to border checks, as the post-divorce horse trading begins in earnest.

A free trade "Canada-style" accord aside, Downing Street is meanwhile reportedly willing to resort to an "Australian" version of no deal, or any other looser arrangement, with the prime minister expected to assert "there is no need for a free trade agreement to involve accepting European Union rules", the British broadsheet remarked.

The Sunday Telegraph criticised the bloc for "reneging on the deal" in their "Brexit souvenir edition", arguing that the Europeans have to learn to respect Britain's new-found sovereignty.

"We have made our choice - we want a free trade agreement, similar to Canada's but in the very unlikely event that we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing Withdrawal Agreement with the EU".

Barnier told France Inter radio that "there will be no trade deal with the British if there is no reciprocal access deal for our fishermen".

"In either case, I have no doubt that Britain will prosper".

The trade talks are vital because now that Britain has officially left the bloc - the first nation ever to do so - Johnson hopes to have a wide-ranging new deal in place by the end of the year.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged Britain against repeating past mistakes by insisting on "rigid red lines" that "makes it hard to come to an agreement".

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