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Countries ‘queuing up’ to do deals with UK, says Boris

Countries are “queuing up” to agree trade deals with the UK, according to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

He said Britain will no longer have its trade policy run by commissioners in Brussels and will be free to establish its own agreements.

His comments follow Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy which includes a commitment to a new free trade deal once Britain has withdrawn from the EU.

 

Mr Johnson said: “We will no longer be part of the common commercial policy, or bound by the Common External Tariff, and we will no longer have our trade policy run by the EU commission.

“That means – crucially – that we will be able to do new free trade deals with countries around the world. They are already queuing up.

“Under EU rules, we are not formally allowed to negotiate these new treaties until we leave. But there is nothing to say that ideas cannot be pencilled in.”

He said the UK would “continue to share European values”, and gave reassurances that a stricter immigration policy would not mean excluding incomers.

“We are not slamming the door to migrants, or hauling up the drawbridge,” he said.

David Davis Secretary of State for exiting the European Union also confirmed that there had been a rush of overseas interest and named Commonwealth partners Australia, Canada and  New Zealand.

“We’ve had a number of countries express a very strong interest in deals,” he said.

Downing Street said that in a series of phone calls to foreign leaders, Mrs May’s plans had been welcomed.

However, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (right) claimed leaving the single market would be “economically catastrophic” and has indicated that a second independence referendum was now “more likely”.

She accused the Prime Minister of pandering to UKIP and the right wing of her party.

“What I’ve heard today from the PM is an inability to engage in discussions that further compromise,” said Ms Sturgeon.

“I will continue to act in an orderly and reasonable fashion. I said I would exhaust all options, and that’s what I will do. But we are going to have to see some give from the UK government.

“I am not prepared to allow Scotland’s interests to be simply cast aside. I’m not prepared for Scotland to be taken down a path which I firmly believe to be damaging not just to our economy but to the very kind of society that we are.”

The prime minister spoke to Ms Sturgeon ahead of her speech in which she said the views of the devolved nations would be taken into account in the Brexit negotiations.

But she Mrs May effectively quashed the SNP’s hopes of a separate Brexit deal, including the option of Scotland remaining in the single market.

She welcomed the Scottish Government’s paper setting out its position on Brexit, but she made clear the substance of the deal with the EU would be a matter for the UK Government and parliament.

“We won’t agree on everything, but I look forward to working with the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole of the United Kingdom.



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