Despite Mr Johnson’s October deadline for a deal with the European Union passing, both sides have held urgent talks to try and secure a trade deal before the end of the transition period in December. But negotiators have been unable to agree on issues such as fishing rights and state aid.
With reports claiming a trade deal will be struck between the UK and EU within the next 14 days, Brexiteers have claimed the EU has adopted an “extremist position” which is impossible to “meet half way”.
The website and research group Brexit Facts4EU.org has urged Leave voters to bombard the Prime Minister with letters urging him to walk away from trade talks.
They outlined two key messages for Mr Johnson: walk away from trade talks and rescind and void the “abominable Withdrawal Agreement”.
They said: “It has been almost four-and-a-half years and still the EU is insisting on totally unreasonable demands in the trade talks which would prevent the UK from acting as a free and independent country after December 31, 2020.
Boris urged to walk away from Brexit talks
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
“It’s time to walk.”
The website – which hails itself as the most “prolific researcher and publisher of Brexit facts around the world” – added EU negotiators have not been prepared to offer a normal free trade deal.
They continued: “The WA was predicted on a normal free trade deal with the EU, akin to deals the EU has signed with other major countries.
“This is something their negotiators have not been prepared to offer and the UK is now well within its rights to nullify the agreement on the basis of the EU’s lack of goodwill and good faith.
Brexit negotiator David Frost
“Unless this is done, the UK’s territory will be split, its economic and social freedoms will be curtailed by the EU, and it will be subject to some EU laws for decades.
“This is hardly what it means to be a free, independent and sovereign nation.”
Yesterday, the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned David Frost he will pull out of the Brexit negotiations unless there was a major shift by Downing Street within the next 48 hours.
Mr Barnier warned his counterpart further negotiations would be pointless unless the UK was willing to compromise on any outstanding issues.
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European fishing dependence on UK waters
But former Brexit Party MEP, Ben Habib, warned any compromise on a trade deal will jeopardise trust in the Prime Minister.
He said: “Can we trust Boris Johnson?
“When he said the withdrawal agreement was dead; we would leave the EU whole as one United Kingdom and that we would take back control of our cash, our laws and our borders he was busy negotiating the withdrawal agreement, leaving Northern Ireland behind in the EU’s customs Union, offering to pay them £39billion, accepting EU State Aid law and putting a border down the Irish Sea, thereby partitioning the country.
“How can Boris Johnson be trusted?”
Boris urged to walk away from Brexit talks
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was “decisive days” for negotiations with the UK.
She told MEPs: “These are decisive days for negotiations with the United Kingdom.
“But, frankly, I cannot tell you today if in the end, there will be a deal.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen
“We will do all in our power to reach an agreement.
“We’re ready to be creative.
“But we are not ready to put into question the integrity of the single market, the main safeguard for European prosperity and wealth.”
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German MEP Bernd Lange
11.30am update: Pro-Brexit Tory group threaten to vote against Boris’ deal with the EU
The European Research Group, made up of Tory Brexiteer MPs, has argued they will vote against Boris’ deal with the EU if it fails to protect UK sovereignty.
A Tory source told the Telegraph: “For Brexiteers, the overwhelmingly important issue is UK sovereignty.
“If that is not preserved in the final agreement, I have no doubt we will vote against the treaty in whatever vote is called – either under CRAG (if there is one) or for the final domestic implementing legislation.”
CRAG refers to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, which can be used to ratify any UK-EU treaty.
Brexit negotiations would have concluded months ago had the British negotiators not made a “mess”, German MEP Bernd Lange claimed.
Mr Lange claimed a deal between the UK and the EU would have been in place months ago had the British Government agreed to working on “concrete text work” instead of focusing on its red lines.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the German MEP said: “We had a lot of months, starting in February, of negotiations where there was no real work on a test possible.”
Barnier mocked for threat to quit Brexit talks
Brexit tensions will see “the UK never forgiven by the EU”, a furious former European Commission President once claimed.
The UK left the EU in January this year after almost four years of chaotic withdrawal talks.
Theresa May, who became Prime Minister after the 2016 referendum, endured years of division and party infighting as her deal was defeated in the House of Commons three times.
It was during her premiership that a Swedish Foreign Minister and former European Commission Vice President – Margot Wallström – made scathing remarks about the UK politicians leading Brexit talks.
She said Britain’s approach to the issue was “dangerous” and “badly handled,” adding: “I just think that they’ve made such a historical mistake and they’ve really created a problem for all of us.”
Michel Barnier has been brutally mocked for threatening to walk away from post-Brexit talks with the UK.
The Brussels diplomat told his British counterpart Lord Frost he would not travel to London for another round of negotiations this weekend if Downing Street did not budge on fisheries and common standards.
Mr Barnier gave the UK 48 hours to alter its stance, hoping the move would break the current deadlock.
Macron makes grab for Brussels’ €5bn Brexit fund
France has launched a cash grab for much of the EU’s €5 billion emergency Brexit fund to bailout its fishermen.
Emmanuel Macron wants to secure the lion’s share of the so-called “adjustment fund” to prop up France’s northern coastal communities set to lose out on access to Britain’s fishing grounds.
The French President’s hardline approach to secure almost the same opportunities in the UK for EU vessels has taken negotiations over the Brexit trade deal to the brink of collapse.
Having already frustrated European colleagues with this stance, Mr Macron now risks infuriating them by pushing to seize control of the Brexit fund.
10.20am update: George Eustice says UK border needs another 100 officials to deal with post-Brexit paperwork
The UK border potentially needs another 100 officials to deal with post-Brexit paperwork for fish products, according to the Environment Secretary.
George Eustice told MPs there are around 1,000 officers able to issue export health certificates for fish, although Westminster is working with its Scottish Government counterparts to help fill a “gap” in Scotland.
Speaking in the Commons, SNP MP Richard Thomson (Gordon) said this week’s test run for border procedures once the transition period ends demonstrated the “severe chaos” which might be expected in the new year.
He stressed the need for seafood products to be delivered to market at speed, adding: “What assurances can the Secretary of State make today to the catching and processing sectors that delays will not equal ruined produce and ruined businesses?”
Mr Eustice replied: “We’ve been working with the fishing industry and local authorities to ensure they have the capacity in place to employ the environmental health officers necessary to issue both the catch certificates and the environmental health certificates.
“We have around 1,000 officers now that can issue export health certificates for fish.
“It is the case there are some concerns in Scotland where the Scottish Government potentially has a gap in capacity of 100, we’re working with them to try to offer our help to ensure this gap can be filled.”
George Eustice warns more border officials needed
Brexit talks are still at a deadlock as the EU refuses to budge on fishing rights, with Dutch officials once adamant they would “not lose” the battle over Britain’s waters.
Fishing rights have been a sticking point in Brexit negotiations since talks began. Currently, foreign companies own the rights to catch more than 130,000 tonnes of fish every year that are part of England’s fishing quota.
This equates to more than £160m (€179m) worth of the English quote being in the hands of vessels owned by companies based in Iceland, Spain and the Netherlands, according to reports – some 55 percent of the quota’s annual value in 2019.
Brexit trade talks could be heading towards no deal, according to an analyst, as the EU threatens to pull out of talks.
He demanded that the UK compromise on key issues to keep negotiations alive. There is little over a month before the transition period ends – the deadline for when a deal is supposed to be formed.
This comes after DW (German broadcaster) analysis in which it was warned that a no deal Brexit could be in sight.
Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya
9am update: Spanish foreign minister warns time is running out for agreement over Gibraltar
Time is running out to find a Brexit agreement between Spain and Britain over Gibraltar, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Thursday.
“Talks between Spain and the United Kingdom over Gibraltar continue, but there too time is running out,” she told radio station RNE.
“We won’t stop until the last second, but we expect in this game the active participation of the United Kingdom.”
Spain claims sovereignty over the port at the mouth of the Mediterranean that it ceded to Britain in 1713 after a war.
However, in a 2002 referendum 99% of Gibraltarians rejected any idea of Britain sharing sovereignty with Spain.
Andrew Neil has admitted he is “not a huge fan of Brexit” but still despises how Remainers reacted after they lost the EU referendum.
The TV veteran was engaged in a back-and-forth on Twitter when he hit out.
Mr Neil said he is opposed to Remainer rhetoric which sees Britain branded as “crap” because the public decided to leave the EU.
Rishi Sunak hopeful Brexit deal will be agreed
Eurosceptic Tory MPs have warned they could vote against any EU trade deal which infringes on Britain’s sovereignty, even if it’s recommended by Boris Johnson, according to reports.
The Government is currently attempting to negotiate a new trade deal with Brussels.
This would come into effect when the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of the year.
However talks remain deadlocked over European access to British fishing waters and the EU’s demand for a regulatory ‘level playing field’.
7.50am update: Rishi Sunak is hopeful a trade deal will be struck with the EU
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Thursday that he was confident and hopeful that a Brexit trade deal could be struck with the European Union – and that the shape of the deal was clear.
“There is a lot of work going on, and I think with a constructive attitude and goodwill on all sides we can get there,” Sunak told Sky.
“It’s clear what the shape of the deal looks like.
“I am hopeful that the EU will see that the vast majority of what we’re asking for are things that they’ve already agreed with other countries.
“The teams are hard at work.”