“I don’t want no deal as the outcome..I don’t want to lead with a WTO solution as my number one priority” Boris Johnson, July 2019
Mr Johnson’s view that in the absence of a deal, the UK will leave the EU on 31 October “do or die” is little different in substance to his predecessor’s mantra, “no deal is better than a bad deal”. The Prime Minister also appears to agree with Mrs May that a deal is preferable to the alternatives – or at least a higher priority objective. Where they diverge, is on what that deal might look like.
The tone of current rhetoric is focussed on “all or nothing” from both sides. Mr Johnson says the current Withdrawal Agreement has “got to go”. EU leaders, for their part, are adamant that it cannot be re-opened. If a deal is a genuine priority, a more nuanced solution than is currently being put forward seems inevitable. But no one has articulated clearly what that might comprise, leaving observers to speculate based on speeches and soundbites.
Our latest Brexit Essentials - expressing no view on the likelihood of any particular result – outlines the possible outcomes and some of the legal constraints that might shape the UK’s future relationship with the EU.