“Trade talks are over,” says no.10, but where’s the statement revoking the Withdrawal Treaty?

The EU is now in de facto breach of the Withdrawal Treaty, which must be repudiated immediately

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2020

Full text of the PM’s statement, comments from No.10, and our Brexit Facts4EU.Org analysis

Below is the Prime Minister’s official statement on the temporary halt to the trade talks with the EU, together with a “No, it’s business as usual” response from Brussels.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman enlarged on and clarified the statement, telling journalists:

“There is only any point in Michel Barnier coming to London next week if he's prepared to address all the issues on the basis of a legal text in an accelerated way, without the UK required to make all the moves or to discuss the practicalities of travel and haulage.”

“If not there is no point in coming.”

“Trade talks are over. The EU have effectively ended them by saying they do not want to change their negotiating position.”

Here is the full text of the statement by the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP on 16 October 2020

“Good morning,

“We left the EU on January 31 and delivered on the largest democratic mandate in the history of this country.

“And since then we have been in a transition period obeying EU law, paying our fees – as a non-voting member – working on the future relationship we hope to enjoy with our friends and partners from January.

“And from the outset we were totally clear that we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship, based on friendship and free trade.

“To judge by the latest EU summit in Brussels that won’t work for our EU partners. They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country.

“And since we have only ten weeks until the end of the transition period on January 1, I have to make a judgment about the likely outcome and to get us all ready.

“And given that they have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, and given that this summit appears explicitly to rule out a Canada-style deal, I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade.

“And we can do it, because we always knew that there would be change on January 1 whatever type of relationship we had. And so now is the time for our businesses to get ready, and for hauliers to get ready, and for travellers to get ready.

“And of course we are willing to discuss the practicalities with our friends where a lot of progress has already been made, by the way, on such issues as social security, and aviation, nuclear cooperation and so on.

“But for whatever reason it is clear from the summit that after 45 years of membership they are not willing – unless there is some fundamental change of approach – to offer this country the same terms as Canada.

“And so with high hearts and complete confidence we will prepare to embrace the alternative. And we will prosper mightily as an independent free trading nation, controlling our own borders, our fisheries, and setting our own laws.

“And in the meantime the government will be focussing on tackling COVID and building back better so that 2021 is a year of recovery and renewal. Thank you very much.”

Meanwhile in Brussels it was as if nothing had happened

Yesterday afternoon, in response to the statements from No.10, the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted a “No, it’s business as usual” message.

So, on the one hand No.10 says there’s no point Monsieur Barnier travelling to London next week, and on the other hand it seems he will be doing just that.

According to a spokesperson from No.10 yesterday evening, Lord Frost spoke to Michel Barnier by phone: “Lord Frost said that, as the PM had made clear, the European Council's conclusions yesterday had left us without a basis to continue the trade talks without a fundamental change in the EU's approach to these negotiations. There was accordingly no basis for negotiations in London as of Monday.


It must always be remembered that the EU is desperate for the UK to be seen as the party at fault. The PM has to sound reasonable, for those around the world who are watching, and his statement must be viewed in this light.

The words from the PM’s official spokesman were for us more encouraging than those uttered by Boris Johnson himself.

“Trade talks are over. The EU have effectively ended them by saying they do not want to change their negotiating position.”

The problem is with what happens next, and unfortunately there are as yet no signs that the UK Government will go nearly far enough.

There are two huge challenges, not one

There are in fact two absolutely fundamental elements to the UK’s future relationship with the EU

  1. A ‘SuperCanada’ UK-EU trade deal, and
  2. The repudiation of the Withdrawal Treaty

The first is clearly now unattainable in our view. However the most fundamental element that has not yet been mentioned by No.10 is the second of these fundamentals. With the PM effectively declaring yesterday that the EU has shown no serious intent to establish a normal trade deal with the UK, this puts the EU in de facto breach of the Withdrawal Treaty.

The EU aren't stupid

It was instructive that the President of the EU Council's first tweet about their discussions contained this:

“Withdrawal agreement has to be fully implemented. Full stop.”

The EU are not stupid. They know that the Withdrawal Treaty turns the UK into a colony of the EU for decades to come.

There must be a total repudiation of the Withdrawal Treaty, on the basis that the EU entered into it in bad faith and has failed to observe its basic premise of the requirement to put in place a normal trade agreement with the UK.

The case for this is very clear and we have published the evidence. (For readers wanting a quick summary, please see the last piece we did on 10 Sept 2020.)

If the Prime Minister is serious about trade talks being over,
what better time than to announce that the Withdrawal Treaty is null and void?
Once again we urge the Prime Minister most strongly to announce this essential move.

If he does so this weekend, this would still allow time for the dust to settle and for a series of side agreements with the EU to be agreed quietly, to ensure a reasonable form of continuity after 31 December 2020 on matters such as travel, haulage, security, etc.

Finally, our appeal. We have a huge amount to do between now and the end of the year (and sadly for some months afterwards). We can only continue researching, publishing, and lobbying with the support of ordinary readers like you.

If you care as passionately as we do about the re-establishment of the United Kingdom as a free, independent, and sovereign country, please support our work now with a donation. Even better if you could help us with a monthly sum. Quick and secure donation methods are linked to below this article and you will receive a warm and friendly ‘thank you’ email from a member of our team!

[ Sources: No.10 | EU Twitter accounts ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 17 Oct 2020

Click here to go to our news headlines

Please scroll down to COMMENT on the above article.
And don't forget to actually post your message after you have previewed it!

Share this article on

Something to say about this? Scroll down for reader comments

Since before the EU Referendum, Brexit Facts4EU.Org
has been the most prolific researcher and publisher of Brexit facts in the world.

Supported by MPs, MEPs, & other groups, our work has impact.

We think facts matter. Please donate today, so that we can continue to ensure a clean Brexit is finally delivered.

Any credit card user

Quick One-off


From £5 - £1,000



From £3 per month

Paypal Users Only - Choose amount first

Quick One-off