I have always been clear that I would prefer to leave the EU with a deal. Indeed, I voted for the Withdrawal Agreement, despite its flaws, because it would have meant us honouring the results of the 2016 referendum and avoided leaving the EU without a deal. However, I believe that no deal is infinitely preferable to not leaving at all. The British people must be able to trust their politicians to deliver on their promises and so we will be leaving the EU on 31st October whether a deal has been reached or not.
On the topic of future trade negotiations following our departure from the EU, the government has been clear that the NHS will never be for sale. The NHS offers a vital, universal service that is free at the point of use and no trade deal with any country will change these principles. The UK also has a long record of assessing the price of medicines according to their clinical value rather than by development cost or international reference prices. I will seek to ensure that this continues to be the case after the country leaves the EU.
Additionally, I can assure you that our food standards will not be reduced in the pursuit of trade deals. Any future trade deal must work for British farmers and consumers. For instance, EU standards on food such as chlorinated chicken will come into UK law through the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. EU regulations on hormone treated beef are already part of UK law. These prevent the use of growth hormones in imports and domestic production. These will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
I continue to believe that a negotiated agreement endorsed by Parliament would be the best outcome for the UK however recent events are making this difficult. I am pleased to that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, has announced a total of £2.1 billion to support no deal preparations, on top of the £4 billion already spent, and I am confident that our country will overcome whatever challenges no deal presents.