Published On: Sun, Oct 18th, 2020

Brexit news: Boris’ bill could be ‘watered down’ to strike EU deal in dramatic climbdown | Politics | News

The Prime Minister had set a deadline of the European council summit in Brussels for the outline of a Free Trade Agreement to be agreed. But negotiations collapsed, with Mr Johnson warning Britain will leave the EU’s single market and customs union at the end of the transition period on December 31 without a trade deal unless the EU substantially changes its stance. A huge stumbling block over recent weeks has been the introduction of the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill, which would look to rewrite key elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement the Prime Minister struck with Brussels last year, subsequently breaking international law.

The move infuriated the EU, which is taking legal action against the UK with demands Mr Johnson drop the controversial clauses contained in it relating to trade with Northern Ireland in order for a full agreement to be struck.

The Prime Minister has so far stood his ground on this issue, but Bloomberg has reported Government officials believe he could be forced into a dramatic change of direction when members of the unelected House of Lords remove the clauses that would breach international law.

Peers in the upper chamber will begin debating the Bill on Monday but this week are expected to vote against the draft law entirely and will almost certainly remove the most controversial clauses over the next few weeks.

This would pile pressure on Mr Johnson over how hard he would be prepared to fight to keep the clauses as the clock ticks down to the transition period deadline.

brexit boris johnson eu

Brexit news: Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill could be diluted to push through a trade deal (Image: GETTY)

brexit boris johnson

Brexit news: Boris Johnson sent a huge warning to the EU over the prospect of a no deal outcome (Image: DOWNING STREET / PA)

But people close to the matter expect the Prime Minister to drop, or at the very least, water down the most difficult parts of the law if he manages to strike an overarching trade deal with the EU, potentially as part of the negotiations with the bloc.

One insider suggested the law itself was always only intended to be used as a tactic in negotiations with the EU, while another said minister would be prepared to include extra guarantees to dilute the most contentious powers in the Bill.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who is also leading the UK’s no-deal preparations, is set to hold talks over issues covered by the new law with EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic during a joint committee meeting on Monday.

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost is also due to meet EU counterpart Michel Barnier in London early this week as the two sides desperately try to reach a compromise on a trade deal.

READ MORE: Macron threatens devastating energy blockade against UK over fishing

brexit frost barnier

Brexit news: Trade talks have broken down between the UK and EU (Image: GETTY)

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Gove insisted the door is still “ajar” for further talks with the EU but admitted the chances of an agreement being struck have now deteriorated.

Asked if the door is still open to talks, the Cabinet Office minister said: “It is ajar; we hope the EU will change their position, we’re certainly not saying that if they do change their position we can’t talk to them.”

He had also said the chances of agreeing a deal are “less” than the 66 percent he had previously predicted.

Mr Gove told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It’s less. I can’t be precise, but one of the reasons why it’s less is the position that’s been taken in the last couple of weeks by European Union leaders.”

Boris’s Brexit plot may have ‘put US-UK trade deal at risk’ [INTERVIEW]
‘Ball is in HIS court’ Michael Gove tells Barnier EU must budge [VIDEO]
Brexiteer John Redwood issues scathing message to Michel Barnier [COMMENT]

brexit eu deal

Brexit news: The EU has been left furious by the Internal Market Bill (Image: GETTY)

brexit michael gove

Brexit news: Michael Gove said the door is still ‘ajar’ for further talks with the EU (Image: GETTY)

The Cabinet Office minister also accused EU officials of not being serious about making compromises in order to secure a trade deal, and like Mr Johnson, warned they would have to back down if Mr Barnier is to resume talks with Lord Frost in London this week.

Asked if talks could resume with the EU’s chief negotiator, he replied: “The ball is in his court. We’ve made clear that we need to see a change in approach from the European Union.

“I know that he’ll be calling David Frost over the course of the next few days; let’s see if the European Union appreciate the importance of reaching a deal and the importance of making ground.”

The latest warning came after Mr Johnson warned on Friday post-Brexit trade deal talks with the EU are over unless Brussels shows a “fundamental change of approach”.

brexit transition period

Brexit news: The transition period ends on December 31 (Image: EXPRESS)

The Prime Minister said: “From the outset, we were totally clear that we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship, based on friendship and free trade.

“To judge by the latest EU summit in Brussels, that won’t work for our EU partners.

“They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country.

“Given that they have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, and given that this summit appears explicitly to rule out a Canada-style deal, I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade.”

Source link

Most Popular News