Boris Johnson's dinner with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels has failed to break the Brexit trade deadlock as negotiations end without agreement.
Boris Johnson’s dinner with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels has failed to break the Brexit trade deadlock as negotiations between the leaders end without agreement.
Brexit talks fail to progress
Ursula von der Leyen said the two sides were still “far apart” and Downing Street echoed the sentiment saying that “very large gaps remain”. Negotiations between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier will continue in Brussels later despite the lack of progress between their seniors. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that it was “unlikely” the negotiations would go beyond Sunday with No 10 declaring that a firm decision would be made on Sunday.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg commented that the evening had “plainly gone badly” and the chances of the UK leaving the EU at the end of the year without no deal had taken a “big step closer”. Fishing rights, business competition rules and policing a deal are the main sticking points in the negotiations at the moment.
The dinner was viewed as the last chance to compromise and find some common ground. “No deal is better than a bad deal” is a sentiment you hear both sides of the Channel now.
Tory MP John Baron said that Boris Johnson deserved praise for “standing firm” rather than compromising quipping: “We must remember a trade deal is for keeps, not just for Christmas. We all want a deal, but it has to be a good deal because as we’ve said many times before, no deal is better than a bad deal.”
Before leaving for Brussels, the PM said the EU was not compromising at all and insisting on terms that “no prime minister could accept” with regards to access to UK fishing waters and imposing measures if the UK diverged from EU standards.
Any deal also has to be ratified by the European Parliament and win a majority amongst MPs in Westminster. The Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said that although current plans allow for recess on 21st December, should a deal require voting on, MPs may be required to stay beyond that date.