UK PM Johnson says no deal outcome now strong possibility in Brexit trade talks

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks out to meet with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (not pictured) at Downing Street in London, Britain December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - There is a strong possibility that Britain does not reach a trade deal with the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, but pledged to do whatever he could to get one. [S8N2IO05P]

Below are extracts of his comments to reporters:

“I do think that we need to be very, very clear there’s now a strong possibility, strong possibility that we will have a solution that’s much more like an Australian relationship with the EU, than a Canadian relationship with the EU,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.”

“What I’ve said to our negotiators is that we’ve got to keep going, and we’ll go the extra mile ... and I will go to Brussels, I will go to Paris or go to Berlin or wherever, to try to get this home and get to a deal,” he said. “But there’s always the possibility, the prospect of coming out on Australian terms.”

“The UK has been incredibly flexible and actually last night in Brussels, I really want you to know that we tried very hard to make progress on all sorts of things but what’s really made things difficult is just in the last few weeks, ... this concept of equivalence ... keeping the, the UK locked in as I say into the, the EU’s regulatory orbit. That’s something that’s appeared recently, we don’t know quite why it’s appeared in that way. And that’s really the thing that’s made things much more difficult.”

“The UK will continue to do everything we possibly can and as I say I stand ready to talk to anybody our friends and partners in the EU, whenever they want. At the moment I have to tell you, in all candour, the treaty’s not there yet and that was the strong view of our cabinet as well.”

Reporting by William James and Michael Holden; Editing by Alistair Smout