LONDON                       -            Boris Johnson has set out his vision for a trade deal with the EU, saying there is “no need” for the UK to follow Brussels’ rules.

The PM called for a Canada-style free trade deal, saying the UK would return to the Withdrawal Agreement if such a deal was not reached.

But the EU’s Michel Barnier said its “ambitious” trade deal offer required a “level playing field”. Barnier also said there should be reciprocal access to fishing waters. Under the EU-Canada deal, import tariffs on most goods have been eliminated between the two countries, though there are still customs and VAT checks.

The flow of services, such as banking - which is much more important for the UK - between Canada and the EU are much more restricted. Mr Johnson used his speech on “unleashing Britain’s potential” to raise the prospect of the UK reverting to World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms if EU chiefs refuse to sign off on a Canada-style free trade agreement.

In his speech in Greenwich, London, the PM said: “We have often been told that we must choose between full access to the EU market, along with accepting its rules and courts on the Norway model, or an ambitious free trade agreement, which opens up markets and avoids the full panoply of EU regulation, on the example of Canada.

“We have made our choice - we want a free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s but in the very unlikely event that we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

“The choice is emphatically not ‘deal or no deal’. The question is whether we agree a trading relationship with the EU comparable to Canada’s - or more like Australia’s. In either case, I have no doubt that Britain will prosper mightily.”

Mr Johnson rejected the requirement for the UK to adopt Brussels-made rules “on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar, any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules”.

Why does a UK-EU trade deal matter?

Britain ‘will not be aligning with EU rules’ - Raab

The PM added that he will seek “a pragmatic agreement on security, protecting our citizens without trespassing on the autonomy of our respective legal systems”.

He said the UK was ready to agree a deal on fishing with the EU and suggested that there would be annual negotiations on this.

When asked by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg whether he accepted that leaving the EU with no comprehensive trade deal could have significant cost for jobs and businesses, Mr Johnson replied: “We’ve got a deal, it’s a great deal, we’re out.”

“When I hear prophecies of doom I’ve heard them before, I don’t believe in them,” he added. What we saw today was Boris Johnson trying to set the tone for these crucial negotiations.

He wants to go into them on the front foot, with a much more direct, assertive, even aggressive if you like, approach than that of Theresa May.

And his message was a pretty blunt one; we are not accepting EU rules, we are not accepting the jurisdiction of the European courts, we are pursuing trade deals with other countries, and on fishing - crucial to many EU costal countries - British waters will be first and foremost for British boats.