Brexit talks now 'over', says PM

Boris Johnson says there is 'no point' in continuing trade discussions unless the EU is prepared to change position

Downing Street has indicated that trade talks between the UK and the European Union (EU) are now “over”. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said earlier in the day that the UK should “get ready” to trade with the EU next year without an agreement “with arrangements more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade” unless there was a “fundamental” change of direction from the EU. 

According to the Prime Minister’s official spokesman,  the EU have effectively ended negotiations by saying they “do not want to change their negotiating position”. Downing Street now maintains there is “no point” in continuing discussions next week unless the EU is prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership.

The EU has said it is willing to “intensify” discussions but it will not do a deal “at any price”.

The UK had set a deadline of Thursday to decide whether it was worth continuing talks amid disagreements, but Thursday’s meeting of EU leaders broke up without any further proposals. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, is scheduled to arrive in London next week for further discussions but, according to Downing Street, should only make the trip if the EU is willing to change its stance.

“There is only any point in Michel Barnier coming to London next week if he’s prepared to address all the issues on the basis of a legal text in an accelerated way, without the UK required to make all the moves or to discuss the practicalities of travel and haulage,” the spokesman said.

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