Boris Johnson reveals Macron ‘understands’ UK position
The Prime Minister said the negotiations are stuck and told the EU it must accept the UK will take control of its laws and borders. Speaking from No 10, he insisted the country can “certainly cope” with any difficulties caused by moving on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules from January 1. He said: “The position is unchanged. There are problems. It is vital everybody understands that the UK has got to be able to control its own laws completely and also that we have got to be able to control our own fisheries.
“And it remains the case that WTO terms would be more than satisfactory for the UK and we can certainly cope with any difficulties that are thrown our way.”
Mr Johnson said he still believes the country will “prosper mightily” whether a deal is struck or not.
Lord Frost will continue talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier today in Brussels with just nine days left until transition arrangements expire.
But sources close to the negotiations said discussions remained “difficult” with fishing and state subsidies still holding up a deal.
Government sources also rejected claims the UK has offered concessions on fishing quotas to secure a deal.
EU insiders said Lord Frost was prepared to lower his demands for future fishing quotas if Brussels agrees to back down in other areas of the agreement.
But the claim was dismissed by UK sources, who said they “don’t recognise those reports at all”.
Boris Johnson warned Brussels last night Britain will walk away without a deal
The Prime Minister said the negotiations are stuck
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for the transition period to be extended.
But the PM and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer both opposed extending the deadline.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said “time is obviously in very short supply” to get a deal done.
“We will need to ratify any agreement ahead of January 1. The Leader of the House made clear that we would recall Parliament in order to give MPs a vote on the necessary legislation,” he added.
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Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Monday
“We have been clear on this point that we will either leave the transition period on December 31 with a free-trade agreement or we will leave with Australia-style WTO terms. That remains the case.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said extending the transition period would “add fuel to the fire” by creating extra uncertainty.
The European Parliament is now unable to ratify a deal by the end of the year after the Sunday deadline for a deal to be struck was missed.
But EU leaders could provisionally sign off an agreement struck before the end of the year with ratification delayed until 2021.
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Eurocrats have been drawing up plans to extend Britain’s transition out of the bloc.
MEPs told officials to explore the possibility of a new treaty to create a legal basis for “extending the transition period”.
The Parliament’s Brexit committee proposed keeping Britain inside the EU’s single market and customs union for up to three months while MEPs ratified any trade pact.
One insider said: “Any new arrangement would need unanimity from EU member states and officials are groping at various ideas for a legal basis.”
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Hardline European capitals would likely insist on Britain contributing billions of pounds to the EU’s financial coffers during the standstill period.
The source said the approach was a “favoured” by the EU Parliament decision-makers.
But Downing Street will reject the proposal if it is officially tabled by Brussels in the coming days.
A UK spokesman said: “We’ve clearly set out the reasons that we will not extend the transition period.
“It would bind us into future EU legislation, without us having any say in designing it, but still having to foot the bill.
“We need to avoid endless prolonged negotiations stretching into next year and provide certainty to our citizens and businesses as soon as possible.”
EU diplomats also cast doubts over the proposal, warning talks would likely remain deadlocked until the next deadline.
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One insider said an extension is “possible” but “you would just end in the same place in March”.
If negotiators fail to reach an agreement, the European Parliament has promised to meet before the end of the year to vote on contingency plans that would cushion the blow of Britain’s departure from the bloc on world trade terms.
Security arrangements will also change once the transition period ends.
Law enforcement agencies will lose access to a number of systems and databases, with fears investigations will take longer and serious criminals will not be brought to justice as quickly.
Security Minister James Brokenshire insisted the UK “will remain as safe” in the event of a no-deal Brexit despite a “mutual loss” of crime-fighting capability.
“Obviously, there is a change in arrangement, there is a mutual loss in capability,” he told the Home Affairs Committee.
“But does that fundamentally alter the UK being a safe place for its citizens? I would contend that it does not.”
He added: “I believe that we will remain as safe because of the incredible work of our policing, and indeed the different steps that we have put in place.”