Minister says Boris Johnson's 'oven-ready deal' comments over Brexit was in reference to the Withdrawal Agreement
Boris Johnson's comments about having an "oven-ready deal" was in reference to the Withdrawal Agreement, Minister for Middle East & North Africa James Cleverly told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.
Addressing the confusion over the Prime Minister's comments during an appearance on Good Morning Britain, Mr Cleverly said: "The prime minister was absolutely clear. You’ve got to remember, we spent a year rowing about the Withdrawal Agreement. The prime minister made it clear that every single conservative candidate in the 2019 general election would subscribe to the Withdrawal Agreement and that was the oven ready deal that he was talking about."
"It was absolutely clear, unambiguous that he was talking about the Withdrawal Agreement and he did indeed - once he secured the working majority that we needed - he did indeed get that deal voted through in parliament.
"The oven-ready deal was always about the Withdrawal Agreement...We always said that once the Withdrawal Agreement was voted through, that we then enter the transition period where we would negotiate the future relationship with the EU," he added.
Asked about what companies, who have been told to get ready for Brexit even though they don't know what to get ready for, should do, Mr Cleverly said: "There are going to be changes to the way that businesses that transact internationally will need to operate and there’s information available on the government website. Irrespective of whether we get a trade agreement or not, there will be changes and it’s important that businesses understand that and get ready for that."
He added: "The negotiations have not been finalised. It would have been preferable that we could have got this resolved earlier but it does take two to tango and the negotiations with the EU often drag till the last minute. It is disappointing but not completely surprising. Our negotiating team will continue to negotiate hard on behalf of British people and British businesses until either we get an agreement which is the preferred option or until we run out of time. But we’re working to get that certainty that businesses quite understandably want."
Watch the full interview above.
Watch Good Morning Britain weekdays from 6am on ITV and the ITV Hub.