The UKs foreign secretary has said he wants to “take our friendship with Canada to the next level” after Brexit, during his first international trip as part of the new government.
Dominic Raab, who served briefly as Brexit secretary under Theresa May, used the meeting with his counterpart Chrystia Freeland to stress that the UK would be leaving on 31 October “whether or not we conclude a deal with the EU”.
Work has started to ensure a “seamless transition” for trade between the two countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Raab said.
He added: “Brexit is not just about risk management, although thats important and I wouldnt want to be glib or not take that very seriously. But it is also – and our Prime Minister has been very clear about that – also about grasping the enormous opportunities of our two countries.
“Yes, were going to remain good European neighbours, partners and friends in the future. But we do want to grasp those global opportunities, and we want to expand our horizons and raise our level of ambitions in the world.
“As part of that we want to take our friendship with Canada and the Canadian people to the next level on trade, on security co-operation, on human rights, and on those global challenges that are beyond any particular region like tackling climate change.”
Earlier today, de facto deputy prime minister Michael Gove said it was “wrong and sad” that the EU was refusing to re-open talks around the Withdrawal Agreement, in particular the Irish backstop.