Johnson to focus on ‘levelling up’ Britain
London – The prime minister has vowed to focus on “levelling up the country” and “spreading opportunity”, after securing the post-Brexit trade deal this week.
Boris Johnson told the Sunday Telegraph the deal would provide new legislative and regulatory freedoms to “deliver for people who felt left behind”.
But fishermen’s leaders have accused him of “caving in” and sacrificing their interests to reach the agreement.
Labour called it a “thin deal” that needed “more work” to protect United Kingdom (UK) jobs.
Meanwhile, Tesco chairman John Allan told BBC Radio 4’s World This Weekend he expected the impact on food prices to be “very modest indeed”.
The agreement was reached on Christmas Eve after months of fraught talks on issues including fishing rights and business rules. MPs will vote on the deal in Parliament on 30 December.
Scrutiny of the treaty began in earnest on Saturday morning when the 1 246-page document was officially published, with Conservative Eurosceptics among those promising to pore over the details.
In his first interview since the deal was agreed, Mr Johnson said “big changes” were coming, declaring “it is up to us now to seize the opportunity of Brexit”.
He said a “great government effort” had gone into the plans, with animal welfare, data and chemicals being areas where the UK could diverge from EU standards.
“This government has a very clear agenda to use this moment to unite and level up and to spread opportunity across the government,” Johnson added.
But he told the Telegraph that the deal “perhaps does not go as far as we would like” on financial services.
From the end of the transition period on December 31, financial firms, including banks and insurers, will not be granted automatic access to EU markets.
They will have to be deemed by Brussels to be governed by rules as robust as within the bloc. (BBC)