LONDON, Oct 18 — Michael Gove, the minister handling Brexit divorce issues for Britain, said today that the UK is “increasingly well-prepared” for a no-deal Brexit.
“It is not my preferred destination,” Gove said in an opinion piece in the Sunday Times newspaper.
“But if the choice is between arrangements that tie our hands indefinitely, or where we can shape our own future, then that's no choice at all. And leaving on Australian terms is an outcome for which we are increasingly well-prepared.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that Britain should get ready for a deal with the European Union similar to the one Australia has, “based on simple principles of global free trade.”
A so-called “Australia deal” means that the United Kingdom would trade on World Trade Organisation terms: As a country without an EU trade agreement, like Australia, tariffs would be imposed under WTO rules, likely causing significant price rises.
Johnson's critics say that an Australian-style deal is simply code for no deal at all with Britain's largest export market. Australia's trade with the EU is dwarfed by Britain's.
Gove has previously said that while the British government wanted an agreement with Brussels, it was not going be “held hostage.”
“It will require a fundamental change in attitude, policy and politics from the EU to get things back on track,” Gove wrote in the Sunday Times.
“As things stand, that (free trade agreement with EU) will not happen, and the EU's decisions at last week's summit have, in effect, ended those trade talks,” he added. — Reuters