BORIS Johnson has threatened to walk away from talks after Angela Merkel warned Britain would have to “live with the consequences” of Brexit.
The German chancellor fired the shot across the bow of the Prime Minister as he decided to ditch plans laid out by his predecessor Theresa May for close economic ties to Brussels.
Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson hammered home that the UK is prepared to leave on “Australia terms” if an agreement cannot be reached between Britain and the EU.
It came during a telephone conversation on Saturday with Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Australia has no bespoke trade deal, but a series of mini-deals in place – but some critics describe the proposals as the same as a no-deal Brexit.
A Number 10 spokeswoman, issuing a readout of a phone discussion with Mr Morawiecki, said: “On the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the Prime Minister welcomed the agreement on both sides to an intensified process of negotiations in July.
“He said the UK would negotiate constructively but equally would be ready to leave the transition period on Australia terms if agreement could not be reached.”
It came as Mrs Merkel spoke with six European newspapers ahead of Germany assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) council on July 1 as Brexit talks get going again on Monday.
“With Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British Government wants to define for itself what relationship it will have with us after the country leaves,” Ms Merkel said, reports The Guardian.
“It will then have to live with the consequences, of course, that is to say with a less closely interconnected economy.
“If Britain does not want to have rules on the environment and the labour market or social standards that compare with those of the EU, our relations will be less close.”
The German leader, 65, who has led the country since 2005, will retire from politics when her fourth term as chancellor ends next year.
She added a no-deal Brexit would not be a personal defeat for her.