Boris Johnson Warns EU: Brexit Transition Period WILL End in December 2020
British prime minister issues ultimatum to European Union over Britain's exit
Riding high from his Conservative Party's historic victory in the UK general election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the European Union that Britain's Brexit transition period will end in December 2020.
PM Johnson gathered his new Cabinet this week after sending an emphatic message to Brussels that he will not tolerate any further delays to Brexit.
The prime minister and his team met in Downing Street after updating the withdrawal legislation to rule out any extension of the transition period beyond the current deadline of December 2020.
Officials also quashed speculation that Mr. Johnson may consider a softer Brexit following his election landslide.
Johnson will insist on a "Canada-style free trade agreement with no political alignment" – abandoning the closer ties planned by ex-PM Theresa May, his official spokesman said.
Parliament will also lose its veto over the negotiating mandate Mr. Johnson will take into next year's trade talks.
According to the Daily Mail, the tough line cast a dampener on the "Boris Bounce" that has seen markets surge in the wake of the Tory landslide.
The Pound lost ground against the US dollar and euro this week, while the FTSE 100 stalled - reflecting fears that a full trade deal might not be ready in time for the end of the "standstill" period when the UK will still be within EU rules.
It comes after the prime minister posed with 109 newly-elected Conservative MPs in Parliament as the surging Tories flexed their muscles and Johnson started to shape his new administration.
A Downing Street source said the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would "legally prohibit the Government from agreeing any extension" to the transition, which takes effect once the exit legislation is passed.
It means that the transition period – during which free movement and EU laws continue to operate – will definitely end in December 2020.
The agreement struck with the EU left wriggle room on the end date of the implementation phase, and that was reflected in the previous text of the legislation.
In part that was because Mr. Johnson needed the broadest possible support among MPs to have a hope of getting the bill through.
However, the Tory majority of 80 in the wake of the election means there is no danger that the government will struggle to get its tougher version through.
The move is designed to show Brussels that the PM will not soften his stance when trade talks begin next year.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, has warned that securing a complete deal by next December is unrealistic.
EU sources yesterday said only a "bare-bones" agreement could be nailed down by then – leaving some sectors facing "partial No Deal" terms.
As Mr. Johnson told Conservative MPs: "Let the healing fountain of Brexit juices start – let people come together."