London - Britain's Conservative government can conclude negotiations on future trade with the European Union by the end of next year, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove insisted on Sunday.
New trade deal is expected
Gove was responding after many politicians and analysts said the government was highly unlikely to meet its target of agreeing a trade deal just 11 months after Britain's planned Brexit on January 31.
"Quite a lot of the detail that we need to negotiate is already laid out in the [Brexit] political declaration, so a lot of work has been done," Gove told Sky News.
"And, as a number of people have pointed out, there are areas where the European Union's interests and the United Kingdom's interests are already closely aligned," he added.
"So I'm confident that we will be able not just to leave the EU on January 31 but also to conclude all the details of a new relationship in short order."
Another vote before Christmas
In a speech to supporters on Saturday, following the Conservatives' resounding victory in a snap election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said lawmakers will vote before Christmas on the Brexit deal that he agreed with Brussels.
"We have 100 per cent support [for the deal from Conservative lawmakers]," Johnson said. "We can definitely get it in before Christmas."
Passage of the deal is expected to be a formality after the Conservatives won a big majority in the election, which Johnson called in a bid to break a parliamentary impasse over Brexit.
The results of Britain's parliamentary elections in 2017 and 2019