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EU Says 'Ready' for Brexit Trade Talks After Boris Johnson's Resounding Win

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses for a photo wearing boxing gloves during a stop in his General Election Campaign trail at Jimmy Egan's Boxing Academy in Manchester, Britain. (Image: Reuters)

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses for a photo wearing boxing gloves during a stop in his General Election Campaign trail at Jimmy Egan's Boxing Academy in Manchester, Britain. (Image: Reuters)

The Brexit divorce represents Britain's biggest political and economic gamble since World War Two, cutting the world's fifth largest economy adrift from the vast trading bloc and testing the integrity of the United Kingdom.

  • Agencies
  • Last Updated: December 13, 2019, 2:14 PM IST
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Brussels: EU Council President Charles Michel said on Friday the bloc is ready to embark on trade talks with Britain and will do the utmost to protect European priorities after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's resounding election victory.

"My point is very clear: we are ready. We have decided what are our priorities," said Michel as he arrived to an EU summity where leaders would discuss the aftermath of the UK vote and Britain's planned departure from the bloc on January 31.

The Brexit divorce represents Britain's biggest political and economic gamble since World War Two, cutting the world's fifth largest economy adrift from the vast trading bloc and testing the integrity of the United Kingdom.

For Johnson, who had faced gridlock in parliament and focused his campaign on a vow to "Get Brexit Done", victory was a vindication.

"The people of this country have given us tonight a huge great stonking mandate," he told activists at Conservative Party headquarters, according to a recording published by Buzzfeed.

"They've given us this mandate of course because they want us to do one thing, which you all know, they want us to get Brexit done."

Nearly half a century after Britain joined the EU, Johnson faces the challenge of striking new international trade deals, preserving London's position as a top global financial capital and keeping the United Kingdom together.

That last goal was looking more challenging as the election results rolled in, with Scotland voting for a nationalist party that wants an independence referendum, and Irish nationalists performing strongly in Northern Ireland.

In a political earthquake in England, the Conservatives won large numbers of seats in the opposition Labour Party's so-called Red Wall, traditional working class heartlands once hostile to Johnson's party.

Brexit, which has shattered old party loyalties and divided Britain along new fault lines, was the cause of the shift. In the Red Wall, a majority of voters favoured leaving the European Union and rejected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's ambiguous stance on the issue.

In a symbol of the change, the Conservatives took Sedgefield, once held by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour's most successful leader.

U.S. President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Johnson.

"Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U.," Trump wrote on Twitter "Celebrate Boris!"

(With Inputs from AFP and Reuters)
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