Prime Minister Boris Johnson says UK will step up preparations for no deal split from EU

Boris Johnson today laid down the gauntlet to the EU and told Brussels it must ‘come to us’ and compromise if there is to be a trade deal as he warned the UK will now step up its preparations for a disorderly divorce. The Prime Minister said the bloc seemed to have ‘abandoned the idea of a free trade deal’ and as a result Britain ‘should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s’. However, he stopped short of formally walking away from talks as he said the UK was willing to listen if the EU comes forward with a ‘fundamental change of approach’. Mr Johnson had set yesterday’s meeting of the European Council as his deadline for the broad terms of a deal to be agreed. But negotiations remain locked in stalemate in a number of key areas, including on post-Brexit fishing rights, as EU leaders last night refused to budge and said it is for the UK to make the next move if an agreement is to be struck. The two sides now appear to be engaged in a high-stakes game of brinkmanship as the clock ticks down to the end of the post-Brexit transition period in December.

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