The PM’s Brexit rhetoric, which previously gained him a record majority in the House of Commons, was met by the usual furore despite the house operating at reduced capacity, with many MPs joining by weblink. Johnson was responding to a question from a Conservative MP on whether the results of the 2016 referendum on EU membership would be implemented in full.
"This country has not only left the European Union but on January 1 we will take back full control of our money, our borders and our laws."
Johnson also took the opportunity to comment on the controversial Internal Market Bill which seeks to ensure that Northern Ireland is not subject to different customs laws in the event of a no-deal Brexit, contravening the previously settled-on Withdrawal Agreement. The PM said he would “hold firm” against any future trade barriers in the Irish Sea, “we have the excellent UK Internal Market Bill to prevent such barriers from arising.”
The comment comes amid ongoing talks between the UK and the EU over a future trade deal, to follow the end of the transition period on December 31. Johnson’s spokesperson announced on Tuesday that the UK needed a decision on future trading relations by October 15, in order to provide UK businesses with ample time to prepare.
Reports suggest that there remain a number of hurdles for the UK and the EU to overcome before a deal can be reached; the main stumbling blocks being the matter of state aid, which the EU maintains strict rules on, and EU access to British fisheries.
Johnson has continued to play hardball as the crunch moment draws nearer. The UK government has very publicly said it’s looking for a trade agreement similar to that of the EU’s deal with Canada. However, the PM has said that he would be content if, in the event of a no-deal, claiming a relationship similar to EU’s deal with Australia would be a “a good outcome for the UK.”