As you know, we left the EU on 31 January 2020 and delivered on the largest democratic mandate in the history of this country. We promised to get Brexit done and we did it.
Since then we have been in a transition period, obeying EU law, paying EU fees, all as a non-voting member. We have been working on the future relationship we hope to enjoy with our friends and partners from 1 January 2021.
From the outset we were totally clear what we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style agreement, based on friendship and free trade.
To judge by the latest EU summit in Brussels, that will not work for our EU partners. They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom and our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country. Since we have only ten weeks until the end of the transition period, as Prime Minister I have to make a judgement about the likely outcome and to get us all ready for the end of the transition period.
Given the EU have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, and given that this latest summit appears to explicitly rule out a Canada-style arrangement, I have concluded that we should get ready for 1 January 2021 with arrangements that are more like Australia's.
This will be based on the simple principles of global free trade. We always knew that there would be a change on 1 January 2021, whatever type of relationship we had. Now is the time for our businesses to get ready for that Australian-style relationship.
We are willing to discuss the practicalities with our friends, where a lot of progress has already been made, on issues such as social security, aviation and nuclear cooperation.
It is clear from this latest summit that - unless there is a fundamental change in their approach - the EU are not willing to offer this country the same terms as Canada.
As a result, and with high hearts and complete confidence, we will prepare to embrace the alternative. We will prosper mightily as an independent, free-trading nation, controlling our own borders, our fisheries and settling our own laws. In the meantime, this Government will be focusing on tackling the coronavirus pandemic and building back better, so that 2021 is a year of recovery and renewal, in which we regain our economic and political independence.