Boris Johnson has again insisted the UK will “prosper mightily” with or without a trade deal with the European Union.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has suggested that a no-deal situation could wipe 2% off gross domestic product, a measure of the size of the economy, in 2021.
In a message to Brussels, the Prime Minister said: “Our friends have just got to understand the UK has left the EU in order to be able to exercise democratic control over the way we do things.
“There is also the issue of fisheries where we are a long way apart still.
“But hope springs eternal, I will do my best to sort it out if we can.”
Asked whether his forthcoming meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen could achieve a breakthrough, Johnson said he has to be “optimistic” but “it’s looking very, very difficult at the moment”.
“We will do our level best, but I would just say to everybody: be in good cheer, there are great options ahead for our country on any view.
“But the key thing is on January 1, whatever happens, there is going to be change.”
Johnson added: “We will see where we get to in the course of the next two days, but I think the UK Government’s position is that we are willing to engage at any level, political or otherwise, we are willing to try anything.
“But there are just limits beyond which no sensible, independent government or country could go and people have got to understand that.”