Boris Johnson seeks Brexit and new EU trade deal by end of 2020

Boris Johnson seeks Brexit and new EU trade deal by end of 2020
Boris Johnson seeks Brexit and new EU trade deal by end of 2020

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to take Britain out of the European Union by January 31 before agreeing a new trade deal with the bloc by the end of next year, a senior Conservative said on Sunday.

Mr Johnson’s Conservatives won a sweeping victory in a general election on Friday morning, winning a majority of 80 seats – marking the party’s biggest election win for three decades. In his victory speech, the prime minister acknowledging some of the traditional Labour voters the Conservatives won in the north England, saying he was grateful for their support and would lead “a people’s government”.

The British leader is due to set out his plan for Brexit in a Queen’s Speech on Thursday.

He is due to carry out a cabinet reshuffle in February where he is expected to wean out several ministers. Mr Johnson intends to replace some civil servants with external experts to try and reshape the country’s economy, in what will likely be a radical reformation of government.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, cabinet office minister Michael Gove said: “I can absolutely confirm that we will have an opportunity to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in relatively short order and then we will make sure that it passes before January 31.”

Asked about a new trade deal with the EU, Mr Gove said: “It will be concluded next year. We will be in a position to leave the European Union before the 31st of January next year and then we will have concluded our conversations with the EU about the new framework of free trade and friendly cooperation that we will have with them by the end of next year.”

But Michel Barnier, the EU’s Head of the negotiations with the United Kingdom, has been sceptical about the talks will concluding within the 11-month window set by Mr Johnson.

In the Sky Interview, Mr Gove also ruled out another Scottish independence referendum, despite the election success of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Nationalist Party, whose policies include having another vote on the matter. The SNP increased its share of the vote on Friday and upped its number of MPs to 47, cutting the number of Conservative MPs in Scotland from 13 to six.

Referring to Scotland’s failed independence bid five years ago, Mr Gove said: "We were told in 2014 that would be a choice for a generation, we are not going to have an independence referendum on Scotland.”

Earlier on Sunday, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn apologised to supporters in two newspapers, saying he will resign as soon as a new leader has been selected by the party membership.

The Labour leadership election is set to begin on January 7, 2020, with a replacement for Jeremy Corbyn expected to come into power in March.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, a long-time ally of Mr Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell, is tipped as the most likely successor.

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, is also considered to be one of the favourites for the job, but many MPs would like to see a female lead the party for the first time in its 119-year history.

Former shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change Lisa Nandy said on Sunday that she was “strongly considering” running. Other contenders that are considering throwing their hats into the ring include Jess Phillips, Angela Rayner, Yvette Cooper and Emily Thornberry.

Updated: December 16, 2019 01:57 AM

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