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Monday 3 February 2020

Britain is no longer a member of the European Union. Large crowds gathered across the nation on Friday night to celebrate the momentous occasion. As dawn rose on Saturday morning Brits awoke to the realisation their country was sovereign again.

Unsurprisingly, sections of the mainstream media looked to belittle the celebrations, but that was never going to sour the celebrations.

The fight isn’t over yet though. The UK is about to enter trade talks with the EU, only then will we be truly independent.

Following numerous reports last week, Boris is poised to formally tell EU leaders their outlandish hopes of a backstop-style treaty tethering Britain to European regulations is not an option.

The PM will insist talks will not boil down to a “deal or no deal” scenario, but whether the UK’s future relationship with the EU is a more comprehensive Canada-style agreement, or a more limited Australia-style agreement.

“There is no need for a free trade agreement to involve accepting EU rules on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules,” Boris will say.

The pledge – not a guarantee mind so don’t bet against an eventual climb-down – chimes with the foreign secretary’s comments during yesterday’s round of political interview on television: to do so “obviously defeats…the point of Brexit.”

The EU seems to be basing much of its approach on the presumption that Britain will look to lower its standards and create unfair competition. Boris says that won’t happen, Brussels doesn’t believe him and wants a treaty.

An example of the power of the UK economy and the need for mainland Europe to have privileged access has been shown in the Nissan draft plans to double down on its UK market under a hard Brexit. According to the FT, the Japanese car giant is thinking of concentrating all European production in Britain. It would serve the double benefit of cutting loose poor performing factories in France and Spain and getting larger access to UK market share if the EU puts up trade barriers. The Japanese carmaker, which boasts one of most efficient car plants in the world at its Sunderland factory, believes it can sell one in five of the cars it produces in Britain.

Remainers warned of Nissan greatly scaling down or even closing down its UK manufacturing. In fact, Nissan has invested £4bn at Sunderland where 600,000 vehicles are made a year.

Food for thought in Brussels.