Boris Johnson, the leading contender to become Britain’s next prime minister, said on Tuesday it would be “bizarre” if the EU opted to impose tariffs on British goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Johnson, vying with foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to replace outgoing premier Theresa May, insisted her divorce deal struck with the bloc but repeatedly rejected by MPs was “basically dead”.
The ex-London mayor told a radio phone-in that Britain must “get ready to come out without an agreement” and the European Union should match his plan not to impose any tariffs under such a scenario.
“It would be very bizarre if the EU should decide on their own — we wouldn’t put up tariffs — to impose tariffs on goods coming from the UK,” he told LBC talk radio.
“It wouldn’t be in the interests of their businesses, let alone their consumers.
“It would be a return to Napoleon’s continental system,” he added, invoking the 19th-century French emperor who attempted to blockade Britain in the Napoleonic Wars.
During the radio phone-in, former foreign secretary Johnson delved further into his Brexit strategy if he were to be elected Conservative leader — and therefore prime minister — by party members next month.
The 55-year-old said he wants to “take the serviceable bits” of May’s withdrawal agreement, while scrapping the “backstop” provision — hated by ardent Brexiteers — intended to keep the Irish border open.
Johnson said he would withhold paying the EU Britain’s £39 billion ($50 billion) bill while the two sides negotiate a free trade agreement during an implementation period prolonging current terms.
However European leaders have vowed they will not allow London to cherry-pick only the parts of the divorce deal it likes, and that the backstop must remain in place.
If Brussels maintains that stance, Johnson said he would ask EU leaders to agree to freeze existing arrangements for up to 10 years while they negotiate their future relationship.
That could happen under a provision in World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, but he acknowledged “there has to be agreement on both sides” for such an arrangement.
Johnson insisted a way could be found through the political impasse that has led Brexit to be delayed twice already.
“Let’s be more positive about this,” he said.
“It’s time this country frankly stopped being so down about its ability to get this thing done.”
Kim Jong-un threatens to restart nuke tests as Trump’s efforts to talk to the regime fall apart again: report
On Tuesday, CNN's Brian Todd reported that the North Korean regime is on the brink of rescinding what little they promised President Donald Trump, as the future of his efforts to continue talks appear uncertain.
"Kim Jong-un's regime is once again in negotiation by intimidation," said Todd. "Just two weeks after their historic meeting at the DMZ, and President Trump's short stroll into North Korea, North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un appears to be threatening to start testing his nuclear weapons again. In a new statement, Kim's foreign ministry calls the joint U.S./South Korean military exercises planned for next month a breach of the main spirit of what President Trump and Kim agreed to in Singapore, and says, 'We are gradually losing our justifications to follow through on the commitments we made with the U.S."
Republican freaks out after Democrat quotes Trump’s racist statement on the floor of Congress
Chaos continued on the floor of the House of Representatives during the debate on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four young women of color.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) rose to support the resolution, listing multiple instances of racism from the commander-in-chief.
As part of the list, Swalwell noted Trump's attacks on "sh*thole countries."
After he swore on the floor by quoting the president, Republicans freaked out.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) complained and got in a back-and-forth with Swalwell.
Collins sought to have Swalwell's words stricken from the Congressional Record, which would have banned him from speaking for the rest of the day.
Appeals court delivers ‘tremendous blow to federal workers’ with decision to uphold Trump’s anti-union executive orders
"There must be a check on the president's power to destroy federal employees' union rights."
Unions representing hundreds of thousands of federal employees on Tuesday vowed to fight a federal appeals court ruling in which a three-judge panel unanimously upheld President Donald Trump's executive orders attacking workers' rights.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit said that it lacked jurisdiction to block Trump's orders, which made it easier to fire federal employees, limited the amount of time workers can spend on union business, and compelled federal agencies to devise unfavorable contracts with unions.