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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to renege on the UK’s Brexit deal on Northern Irish border checks. In a move that threatens to collapse the Brexit trade talks as they enter a crucial final phase, Downing Street is publishing legislation to override agreements it has already made. In an attempt to put pressure on the EU to concede to Britain’s demands on fishing rights and state aid, Mr Johnson also issued an ultimatum.
Yesterday, he said that no deal would be a “good outcome” for Britain and set the October deadline.
He added: “If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us and we should both accept that and move on.”
Brussels still insists on maintaining its current fishing rights in British waters and wants London to agree to a number of EU regulations, including environmental standards, workers’ rights and state aid rules.
On the other hand, Mr Johnson is demanding the right to diverge from the bloc’s rules in order to strike trade agreements around the world.
As the country prepares to say goodbye to the bloc for good, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Australian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz revealed a “key asset” Mr Johnson now has for post-Brexit Britain.
Senator Abetz said: “I understand it has been somewhat controversial by the extreme left in the UK.
“But I would have thought the appointment of Tony Abbott, on a voluntary basis, is another example of the strengthening of the ties between the UK and Australia.
“And the mutual benefit of engaging with someone like our former Prime Minister to assist the UK in negotiating free trade and shedding itself from the shackles of the European Union.”
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Last week, Mr Johnson appointed Mr Abbott as an official UK trade adviser, defying widespread condemnation of the former Australian Prime Minister’s record of misogyny and homophobia and his views on the climate emergency.
Mr Abbott, whose consideration for the role prompted criticism from opposition parties, is among nine external advisers appointed to the Board of Trade.
The board, revived by Theresa May, is intended to help shape post-Brexit trade policy.
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Mr Abetz has been a Senator for Tasmania since February 1994, representing the Liberal Party.
He was the Minister for Employment and the Leader of the Government in the Senate in the Abbott’s government from 2013 to 2015.
He also previously served as Special Minister of State in the Howard Government from 2001 to 2006 and as Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation from 2006 to 2007.
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