Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not rule out taking the UK out of the EU in a no-deal, clean-break scenario next month.
The prime minister said in comments reported by The Guardian that when asked if businesses should continue preparing for a clean break, he said: “We have a great deal. It’s going to allow us to come out smoothly and efficiently on 31 January.”
When asked whether there was a possibility of a clean-break Brexit on January 31st, 2020, Mr Johnson said: “We have a great deal that will allow us to come out of the EU smoothly.”
And asked again whether businesses should prepare for a no-deal, the prime minister said a third time: “We have a great deal which will allow us to come out smoothly, efficiently, seamlessly on 31 January.”
Prime Minister Johnson made the comments after foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “absolutely, we will be out by the end of January” without ruling out leaving in a clean-break scenario.
The former leadership contender had continued that the government plans to take the UK out of the EU with the EU-approved exit treaty, saying: “We’ve got a deal that deals with all the separation issues and we’ve got this template in the political declaration for the future relationship.”
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The prime minister’s remarks came after he confirmed last week that if the Conservatives win the December 12th election, he would not be standing down no-deal preparations, saying there was “no reason to dismantle” them.
“Many of those preparations will be extremely valuable as we come out of the EU arrangements anyway, so I think they are the right thing to have done and to keep in a state of readiness,” Prime Minister Johnson had said.
Last month, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak had said that the planning would continue after the election because “there are all sorts of scenarios that might happen”.
“We hope we come back with a majority, in that case, we will want to get this deal through, so in theory, no deal should not be something that needs to happen. But there are all sorts of scenarios that might happen,” Mr Sunak had said.