Boris Johnson promises to ignore Michel Barnier’s Wednesday Brexit trade deal deadline

Brexit: Cleverly says UK aims to not give EU 'advantage' in talks

The EU chief negotiator told MEPs this morning that trade talks were now in the “endgame” and would not continue beyond mid-week. However, the Prime Minister has rejected the arbitrary deadline, saying Britain is willing to continue negotiating for as long as necessary to secure an agreement.

His official spokesman said this afternoon: “Time is obviously now in very short supply and we are in the final stages but we are prepared to negotiate for as long as we have time available if we think an agreement is still possible.”

Mr Barnier and his UK counterpart, David Frost, are in Brussels carrying out last-minute talks in a desperate bid to break the deadlock.

Negotiations were paused on Friday night after the two sides failed to reach a breakthrough.

However, they resumed again yesterday after Mr Johnson and European Commission President held a phone call on Saturday evening and agree to continue pushing for a trade deal.

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Mr Johnson and Ms von Der Leyen are planning to hold another phone call at 4pm this afternoon to discuss progress.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister will speak to Ursula von Der Leyen later today to take stock of where the negotiations have got to.

“But with negotiations ongoing now, we’ll need to see where they will get to.”

If they believe there is no chance of reaching an agreement, they could decide to immediately break off talks and prepare for a no deal scenario.

The UK will leave the EU transition period in less than four weeks time, with time running out for London and Brussels agree and ratify a trade pact before December 31.

However, despite the tight timeline, the UK has said it remains committed to trying to secure an agreement.

More to follow…

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