Michael Gove 'working round the clock' to prepare for No Deal Brexit
Michael Gove is ‘working round the clock’ to prepare Britain for a No Deal Brexit as the UK’s trade talks with EU continued to be deadlocked
- Gove’s efforts come as Michael Barnier complains talks are ‘going backwards’
- The latest talks started on Tuesday – the seventh round – and have floundered over EU’s insistence on prioritising an agreement on state aid and fisheries
- UK side rejected EU’s proposals as they effectively replicate existing EU rules
Michael Gove is ‘working round the clock’ to prepare Britain for a No Deal Brexit, as the UK’s trade talks with the EU continued to be deadlocked.
Sources say that the Cabinet Office Minister – who played a leading role in the Vote Leave campaign – has intensified the Government’s preparation for the failure of the talks after the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier last week complained that meetings were ‘going backwards more than forwards’.
If a deal cannot be struck before the end of the post-Brexit transition period on December 31, the UK’s trade with the EU will automatically fall back on basic World Trade Organization rules, raising complications over borders and customs arrangements.
Michael Gove, pictured, has intensified his efforts to prepare for a No Deal Brexit as talks with the EU continue to stall and Michael Barnier complains they’re going ‘backwards’ (file photo)
The latest round of talks, the seventh, which started on Tuesday, floundered over the EU’s insistence on prioritising agreement on state aid and fisheries.
The UK’s negotiator, David Frost, agreed this weekend that there had been ‘little progress’.
A Government source said: ‘While an agreement by the end of September is still possible, a long to-do list still remains and time is of the essence for both sides.
‘The EU’s insistence that nothing can progress until we have accepted EU positions on fisheries and state aid policy is a recipe for holding up the whole negotiation at a moment when time is short for both sides.
‘While they may try and take the moral high ground, it remains the fact that their obsession with these two issues risks blocking progress.
‘We are ready to knuckle down and get into the discussions of legal texts that are what is needed now. We hope the EU will do likewise.
‘While the EU say that they understand that “Brexit means Brexit”, their fixation on continuity shows that perhaps they do not.
‘The UK will become a sovereign state and the sooner they accept this, the sooner we’ll make progress.’
The UK side has objected to the EU’s proposals on fisheries and subsidies because they effectively replicate existing EU rules.
EU Chief Negotiator Michael Barnier has complained the negotiations are going backward
A Whitehall source said: ‘When talking to the previous government, the EU were dealing with a negotiating team that may have wanted Brexit in name only, with minimal changes. That is clearly not the case now.
‘The EU need to realise we are not up for continuing previous arrangements: when they understand that, it will be easier to make progress.
‘On fish, for example, we are simply looking for a relationship that respects the UK’s status as an independent coastal state with sovereignty over our waters.’
A source close to the UK negotiations said: ‘Michael is working round the clock to make sure that if the talks fail – as looks increasingly likely – then the disruption will be short term and minimal.’
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