Boris Johnson has warned it is “very, very likely” that the UK will fail to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.
The Prime Minister said he was “hopeful” that progress could be made in talks but stressed that the two sides remained stuck on fisheries and the so-called level-playing field.
His comments came after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the negotiating teams’ positions remained apart on “fundamental issues”.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to Blyth in Northumberland, Mr Johnson said: “Unfortunately at the moment, as you know, there are two key things where we just can’t seem to make progress.
“And that’s this kind of ratchet clause they’ve got in to keep the UK locked in to whatever they want to do in terms of legislation, which obviously doesn’t work.
“And then there is the whole issue of fish where we’ve got to be able to take back control of our waters. So there is a way to go – we’re hopeful that progress can be made.
“But I’ve got to tell that from where I stand now, here in Blyth, it is looking very, very likely that we will have to go for a solution that I think would be wonderful for the UK, and we’d be able to do exactly what we want from January.
“It obviously would be different from what we’d set out to achieve but I have no doubt this country can get ready and, as I say, come out on World Trade terms.”
This morning Pro-Brexit newspaper the Daily Express used its front cover to claim that the EU has not understood its demands.
In a self-pitying front page, the Leave-backing newspaper claims: “All we ever wanted was our freedom!”
A lot of pro-Europeans pointed out that the UK already had “freedom” in the first place.
Here are some of the best reactions