Brexit POLL: Should Boris Johnson walk away if EU doesn’t agree a free trade deal? VOTE
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The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost has said Britain must keep negotiating with the Brussels bloc even if a trade deal is not possible, highlighting airlines and road haulage as priority issues. The Prime Minister has set a deadline of October 15 if a deal is going to be in place by December 31, when the transition period in which the UK remains in the single market ends.
But both sides have agreed that “significant areas of difference remain” despite trade talks.
Breexiteers have urged the UK to turn its back on the EU if an agreement is not struck on trade.
No 10 has warned Mr Johnson is prepared to leave at the end of the transition period without a trade deal, but accepted brokering one would be “better for both sides” and that talks should “intensify”.
A statement said: “Although some progress had been made in recent discussions, they acknowledged that significant areas of difference remain, particularly on fisheries.
“The Prime Minister reiterated that any deal must reflect what the British people voted for and that businesses and citizens needed certainty very soon on the terms of our future relationship.”
Tory Brexiteer John Redwood called on the PM to walk away and highlighted how the UK “trades well” with the US without a FTA.
He tweeted: “The UK should not surrender our fish or our law making powers.
“Leave the talks as promised if the EU still doesn’t agree a Free Trade Agreement.
“We trade well with the USA without an Agreement so FTAs are not essential.”
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But Mr Frost has said the Britain will need to keep negotiating with the Union even if a full free-trade agreement is not possible.
He said: “Even if we conclude, collectively, that a free trade agreement is not possible, there’s obviously quite a lot of practical issues we will need to discuss.
“We’ll still need to come to some sort of arrangements about flights and road haulage and other things, and you know I imagine we’d want to go on talking after that.”
It comes after president of the European Council Charles Michel said negotiations on a Brexit trade deal have reached the moment of truth.
He said “significant steps” needed to be taken by the UK in the coming days if agreement was to be reached.
Mr Michel said: “The coming days are crucial, this is the moment of truth.
“There is only one week to go before the European Council on October 15 and 16.
“I have been very clear with Prime Minister Johnson. It’s now for the UK to restore trust and to put all its cards on the table.
“The EU is doing its utmost to find an agreement with the UK, but not at any cost.”
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