Brexit news latest – Boris could seal trade deal TODAY as he and Von Der Leyen try to beat Christmas deadline

A BREXIT trade could deal be struck today as Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen try to thrash out an agreement before Christmas.

Talks are scheduled to break-up for Christmas tomorrow, greatly reducing the time remaining for a trade deal to be struck before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

As such Boris and European Commission president von der Leyen are working in "close contact" to get a deal done within the coming hours, according the the BBC.

Once a deal is struck, it still needs to be scrutinised and ratified by EU member states before December 31 in order to be in place by the time the transition period ends.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Shayma Bakht

    BORIS STILL GETTING SLAMMED FOR SMIRKING AT NO DEAL QUESTION

    Boris Johnson and Grant Shapp’s joint smirk at a no-deal Brexit question during Monday's briefing is still being criticised.

    Pro-European Femi Oluwole called them “psychopaths”.

    He tweeted: “They laughed. Johnson kept smirking while answering. Don’t forget: Even if there’s a deal, jobs will still go.”

    Expectedly Labour MPs were also critical of the PM’s reaction.

    Labour MP Jack Dromey said: “Tens of thousands of workers face redundancy as a No Deal #Brexit looms. And Boris Johnson laughs! Contemptible, absolutely contemptible.”

  • Shayma Bakht

    IS NORWAY PLANNING TO LEAVE THE EU NEXT?

    Unfazed by the UK's struggle through its EU departure, eurosceptics in Norway have seen support rising for further distance to Brussels although the country isn't even a full EU member.

    Currently in opposition, the centrist and traditionally agrarian Centre Party's agenda of limiting European influence is resonating with voters in the Scandinavian nation, which currently has close ties to the EU through trade and travel agreements but is not a member.

    "Decisions that affect Norway and Norwegian resources must be taken in Norway," Emilie Enger Mehl, a Centre Party lawmaker on the Norwegian parliament's committee on foreign affairs, told AFP.

    Shockwaves ran through Norwegian politics in early December when a poll showed 22.1 percent of voters would back the Centre — catapulting them from their usual role as a junior coalition partner to potentially the country's largest party.

    Like several other eurosceptic movements across the continent, the party seeks a total reset of relations with the European Union.

  • Shayma Bakht

    LORRIES A BREXIT OMEN?

    The European Parliament's former Brexit co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said queues of lorries in Kent are a sign of things to come after Brexit.

    In a tweet, Mr Verhofstadt said: "We forgot what borders look like. Some thought they would remain open with or without the EU. They will now start to understand what leaving the EU really means."

    Asked whether there is a link between French President Emmanuel Macron's action to shut the border with France and the Brexit negotiations, Mr Jenrick said: "I hope not."

  • Shayma Bakht

    WHAT ARE THE KEY STICKING POINTS?

    FISHING: The EU wants continued access to Britain’s fishing waters after we leave. It’s claimed Britain would be happy with a five year deal to phase out access, but the EU have pushing for eight. One of the key referendum claims was that Britain would be able to take back control of our borders – including fish – when we leave the EU.

    LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Brussels wants a shared set rules and standards to ensure businesses in the UK do not have an unfair advantage over their competitors. The UK has said it won’t lower its standards, but wants to be able to set its own rules.

    GOVERNANCE: Who decides what happens if the terms of the deal are breached? The EU wants a European body to decide the terms, but the UK aren’t keen on this and want an independent arbitrator to have the final say.

  • Shayma Bakht

    FRANCE DOESN'T WANT TO BE THE FIRST TO CRACK

    France warned that the EU would not be pressed into agreeing a deal just because of the looming deadline.

    The French Europe minister Clement Beaune said a no-deal situation would be "catastrophic" for the UK and suggested the EU should hold out.

    He said: "We should not put ourselves, Europeans, under time pressure to finish by this hour or that day. Otherwise we would be put ourselves in a situation to make bad concessions."

    France closed its border with the UK as a result of the new strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly across London and the South East.

     

  • Shayma Bakht

    JENRICK IS "REASONABLY OPTIMISTIC" OF A LATE DEAL

    Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said he is "reasonably optimistic" that a late deal will be agreed before the current trading arrangements expire at the end of the month.

    Mr Johnson has previously said that the most likely outcome is failure to reach a deal, with the UK then relying on World Trade Organisation terms – meaning tariffs and quotas on trade with the EU.

    Despite his optimism, Mr Jenrick told Sky News "serious areas of disagreement" remain on fishing and the "level playing field" measures aimed at preventing unfair competition on standards and state subsidies.

    He said: "We are working through those issues, our negotiators will keep going – the Prime Minister has been very clear that he is going to negotiate until the very end, which is December 31, because that is the right thing, it is what the British public would expect.

    "But at the moment there isn't sufficient progress, it isn't a deal that the Prime Minister feels he can sign us up to because it doesn't yet respect us, in full, as a sovereign, independent nation."

  • Shayma Bakht

    IRELAND – OPTIMISTIC AND DESPERATE FOR A DEAL

    Taoiseach Micheal Martin told RTE Radio One today that Ireland "need" a deal because of the devastation it is causing to its domestic economy.

    Optimistically, he said: "On balance I think given the progress that has been made that there should be a deal.

    "And I think that a no deal would be an appalling shock to the economic system on top of Covid-19 which has really hit the respective of economies of the UK, Ireland and the EU member states.

    "In particular, our domestic economy has taken a very big hit. And so we do need a deal."

  • Shayma Bakht

    OFFICIALS WOULD GIVE UP XMAS DAY FOR A DEAL

    Taoiseach Micheal Martin has raised the prospect of officials working on the text of a Brexit deal on Christmas Day if a breakthrough comes before then.

    The Irish Prime Minister said he and EU leaders were on "stand-by" to endorse any agreement that might emerge from negotiations between Brussels and the UK Government.

    He said today:"If you had a breakthrough tonight or tomorrow officials in Europe could be working Christmas Day on the text."

    The Taoiseach also said he thought a last-minute deal could still be made.

  • Shayma Bakht

    DUTCH EXPORTERS SAY NO DEAL WILL LEAVE FRUIT & VEG ROTTING

    Dutch fruit and vegetable exporters fear that a failure to strike a Brexit deal could lead to long customs queues and fresh produce rotting in trucks.

    The Netherlands exported about 2 billion euros' ($2.4 billion) worth of fruit and vegetables to Britain last year, and its Rotterdam port is the main hub for cargo passing from other EU member states to Britain.

    If Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal, its fresh produce imports will have to undergo time-consuming checks.

    The Dutch fruit and vegetables producers association told Reuters: "When our trucks are in the middle of these queues, that will be disastrous for our products because they are fresh and need to go quickly,"

    "Each delay will lower the price of the product. Every consumer wants to consume very fresh products."

  • Shayma Bakht

    DUTCH EXPORTERS SAY NO DEAL WILL LEAVE FRUIT & VEG ROTTING

    Dutch fruit and vegetable exporters fear that a failure to strike a Brexit deal could lead to long customs queues and fresh produce rotting in trucks.

    The Netherlands exported about 2 billion euros' ($2.4 billion) worth of fruit and vegetables to Britain last year, and its Rotterdam port is the main hub for cargo passing from other EU member states to Britain.

    If Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal, its fresh produce imports will have to undergo time-consuming checks.

    The Dutch fruit and vegetables producers association told Reuters: "When our trucks are in the middle of these queues, that will be disastrous for our products because they are fresh and need to go quickly,"

    "Each delay will lower the price of the product. Every consumer wants to consume very fresh products."

  • Shayma Bakht

    DUTCH EXPORTERS SAY NO DEAL WILL LEAVE FRUIT & VEG ROTTING

    Dutch fruit and vegetable exporters fear that a failure to strike a Brexit deal could lead to long customs queues and fresh produce rotting in trucks.

    The Netherlands exported about 2 billion euros' ($2.4 billion) worth of fruit and vegetables to Britain last year, and its Rotterdam port is the main hub for cargo passing from other EU member states to Britain.

    If Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal, its fresh produce imports will have to undergo time-consuming checks.

    The Dutch fruit and vegetables producers association told Reuters: "When our trucks are in the middle of these queues, that will be disastrous for our products because they are fresh and need to go quickly,"

    "Each delay will lower the price of the product. Every consumer wants to consume very fresh products."

  • Shayma Bakht

    IT'S IN THE DETAILS

    Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said "details matter" when it comes to the prospect of a trade deal with the EU and the issues of fishing rights and the "level playing field" on competition.

    The Communities Secretary said: "We want to ensure that we have arrangements in both respects that ensure that we continue to be an independent, sovereign nation.

    "And so getting those details right is very important, and the Prime Minister, I think, is aligned to the fact that this is an agreement that is likely to last for a long time.

    "We want to make sure that it is right for the country before he can recommend it to Parliament."

    Mr Jenrick added: "I'm optimistic, I hope that we can reach an agreement, but we will need to get those final issues resolved, and there's some way further to go on that."

  • Shayma Bakht

    CONTINUED

    European shares rose after investors were informed of ITV’s political editor’s tweets, which suggested that a last minute trade deal could still be struck between the UK and the EU.

    “A UK source now says agreement on a UK/EU trade deal is again possible tomorrow”, political editor Robert Peston said in a tweet just before midnight on Tuesday.

    He added: “Presumably because, says a separate source, there was movement late tonight on access to the 6-12 mile (offshore) zone, ocean fishing and the sanctions regime after the interim period of moving towards new quotas”.

  • Shayma Bakht

    EUROPE STOCKS RISE, LONDON LAGS

    European shares rose today as a report that a Brexit trade deal could be struck later in the day calmed investors amid concerns over the passage of a much-awaited U.S. pandemic aid bill.

    The pan-European STOXX 600 index traded 0.4% higher after political editor Robert Peston at Britain's ITV said a Brexit trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union is possible today after progress in talks on fishing rights.

    However, London's FTSE 100 lagged as the pound gained on the news and weighed on shares of internationally focused firms on the index.

  • Shayma Bakht

    BORIS TO NEGOTIATE "UNTIL THE VERY END"

    Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said he was "reasonably optimistic" about the prospect of a Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

    But he told Sky News: "There is still the same serious areas of disagreement, whether that is on fisheries or the level playing field.

    "We are working through those issues, our negotiators will keep going – the Prime Minister has been very clear that he is going to negotiate until the very end which is December 31 because that is the right thing, it is what the British public would expect."

  • Ben Hill

    TARIFF TALK

    The temporary deal allows tariffs between Canada and the UK to remain at current levels.

    With the interim agreement, the Canadian government "is making sure businesses can easily continue trading without adding paperwork for businesses and importers," it said in a statement.

    "These measures will ensure stability and certainty on both sides of the Atlantic," it added.

    Bilateral trade with Britain was worth Can$29 billion (18.5 billion euros) in 2019, according to official government figures. Britain is the main market for Canadian exports to Europe.

  • Ben Hill

    CANADA DEAL

    Canada and Britain have signed a temporary agreement to avoid an increase in tariffs between the two countries after the British exit from the European Union in early 2021.

    At the end of November, the two countries announced they had concluded a provisional post-Brexit trade agreement that would reflect, as of January 1, the terms of the deal that Britain benefited from as a member state of the EU.

    But the agreement could not be ratified before the Canadian parliament went into its winter recess, which would have resulted in an automatic increase in tariffs between the two countries on January 1.

    The temporary deal allows tariffs between the two countries to remain at current levels until the new trade deal is passed in parliament, a foreign ministry statement said.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship.

    Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules were tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.

    The UK ended up leaving the EU on January 31 with a transition period until December 31 2020.

    While we did leave with a deal – in which this transition period was agreed – there is still the possibility of ending up in a no deal scenario still.

    If there is no arrangement for our future relationship by the end of this period then Britain will have left the EU with no deal and will trade on World Trade Organisation rules.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    BREXIT-SCEPTIC EX-LABOUR LEADER REJECTED FROM LORDS

    ex-Labour deputy chief Tom Watson has been rejected for a peerage for the second time.

    He was overlooked by Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer for his latest list of House of Lords appointments, published yesterday.

    In 2019, he urged the Labour party to become pro-remain, The Guardian reports.

    An ongoing Parliamentary investigation into Mr Watson’s involvement in the false VIP Westminster paedophile ring is understood to be the reason behind Sir Keir’s snub.

    Mr Watson was first nominated earlier this year by ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    VON DER LEYEN 'KEEN TO WRAP UP A DEAL'

    It is understood Mrs von der Leyen is keen to wrap-up a deal and is now heavily lobbying coastal Member States to accept a compromise.

    She is said to be "in constant contact with all parties involved" and is likely to consult key figures including Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.

     

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT ARE THE KEY STICKING POINTS?

    FISHING: The EU wants continued access to Britain's fishing waters after we leave. It's claimed Britain would be happy with a five year deal to phase out access, but the EU have pushing for eight. One of the key referendum claims was that Britain would be able to take back control of our borders – including fish – when we leave the EU.

    LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Brussels wants a shared set rules and standards to ensure businesses in the UK do not have an unfair advantage over their competitors. The UK has said it won't lower its standards, but wants to be able to set its own rules.

    GOVERNANCE: Who decides what happens if the terms of the deal are breached? The EU wants an European body to decide the terms, but the UK aren't keen on this and want an independent arbitrator to have the final say.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    BOTH SIDES MOVE AWAY FROM ORIGINAL OFFERS

    Both sides have moved a significant way from their last "final offers" giving the last hours and days of talks a fresh boost.

    The EU had originally demanded a decade long transition to London's three, with hours of "tortured" talks whittling that down to a possible compromise.

    Brussels wanted an 18 per cent reduction on quota share, with the Brits moving significantly from their 80 per cent cut opening offer.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    NEW FISHING DEAL?

    The PM presented a new British offer on fishing during two phone calls with Mrs von der Leyen last night. 

    He proposed EU boats give back 35 per cent by value of their current catches in UK waters, to be phased in over five years. 

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    FRENCH STILL PLAYING HARDBALL

    Ms von der Leyen's EU Commission called for the travel ban on the UK to be lifted on Tuesday afternoon, while the French were still playing hardball.

    Yesterday EU negotiator Michel Barnier said: “We are really in the crucial moment. We are giving it the final push." 

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship.

    Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules were tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.

    The UK ended up leaving the EU on January 31 with a transition period until December 31 2020.

    While we did leave with a deal – in which this transition period was agreed – there is still the possibility of ending up in a no deal scenario still.

    If there is no arrangement for our future relationship by the end of this period then Britain will have left the EU with no deal and will trade on World Trade Organisation rules.

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