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Former Brexit Party MEP Belinda de Lucy insisted the Prime Minister would have already abandoned trade talks with the European Union if he had ever been serious about his threats of ending negotiations with no deal. Her comments come after Mr Johnson previously said he would walk away if there was no agreement by the EU summit in Brussels, which started today.
Taking to Twitter, Ms de Lucy fumed: “If Boris had ever been serious about a No Deal threat to the EU we would have walked away by now.”
The Brexit Unlocked presenter’s tweet comes after the Prime Minister said he would “reflect” on the outcome of the two-day summit before making a decision.
In a statement after a call with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel on Wednesday evening, a Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister noted the desirability of a deal, but expressed his disappointment that more progress had not been made over the past two weeks.
“The Prime Minister said that he looked forward to hearing the outcome of the European Council and would reflect before setting out the UK’s next steps in the light of his statement of September 7.”
But Brussels has questioned whether Mr Johnson would be prepared to ditch negotiations.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Britain has already imposed so many deadlines that came and went.”
Following a briefing from the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, the bloc’s leaders expressed “concern” that there had been insufficient progress for a deal to be agreed.
In a text adopted by the summit, they “invited” Mr Barnier to continue his negotiations while urging member states to step up “preparedness and readiness” for all outcomes “including that of no agreement”.
Meanwhile, Downing Street has confirmed that the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost has returned to London and briefed Mr Johnson on the latest talks which took place this week in Brussels.
A No 10 spokesman said: “Lord Frost has updated the Prime Minister on the latest state of play in the negotiations.
“Some progress has been made this week, primarily in the technical areas of negotiations.
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“But we have been clear that there are still differences with fisheries being the starkest.
“Not having a common text to work from has made progress doubly difficult but we continue to want to reach an agreement.”
The UK left the EU on January 31 and is in a transition period until the end of the year.
A number of sticking points remain in trade talks – mainly over fishing.
Speaking as he arrived at the EU summit, French President Emmanuel Macron warned he will not allow French fishermen to be “sacrificed” for a post-Brexit deal between Britain and Brussels.
He said: “Under any circumstance, our fishermen should not be sacrificed for Brexit.
“If these conditions are not met, it’s possible we won’t have a deal.
“If the right terms can’t be found at the end of these discussions, we’re ready for a no-deal for our future relations.”
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