Brexiteer claims UK must secure ONE key element if EU deal is agreed as Barnier backs down

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Andrew Bridgen said Boris Johnson’s hardline approach at the negotiating table meant future discussions will have to feature some  serious compromises from the EU side to keep the trade talks alive. He said the Prime Minister had left Brussels in no doubt  of his position when he “threw down the gauntlet” and declared the talks were over. And he said Mr Johnson should take the same tough stance with the EU when talks resume tomorrow.

A trade deal must state that it supersedes and replaces the withdrawal agreement in full

Andrew Bridgen

Writing on the Pavlovic Today website, Mr Bridgen said: “If a trade agreement is concluded between the UK and the EU within the next two weeks, however bare-boned, it must state that it supersedes and replaces the withdrawal agreement in full.

“If no final deal is forthcoming then the first job our newly independent sovereign Parliament must do is craft legislation to remove us from the spider’s web of the withdrawal agreement in early January 2021.”

The Tory MP for North West Leicestershire said all EU negotiations go down the wire and the bloc’s negotiators had “lived down to their reputation” by seeking at the 11th hour to move the wire back a couple of weeks.

He said: “Michel Barnier for the past 10 months has made it clear that the EU expected all the concessions to get a trade deal over the line to come from the UK side.

“This clearly riled and perturbed not only Lord Frost but also Boris Johnson and his advisors in Number 10.

“The response from Boris was unequivocal and will have surprised, if not shocked, the EU in typical ‘Cummings strategy’.”

Mr Bridgen said he was shocked by a comment from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who declared “it is clear that the UK wants quite a lot of independence”.

The MP said: “I am not surprised that the EU has so badly misjudged the resolve of the new Conservative Government, elected less than a year ago, and more importantly the determination of the UK people to fully implement the referendum result.

“Independence is freedom, and you can never be a little bit free.”

The trade talks are set to resume after Mr Barnier said both sides must be willing to compromise.

Downing Street said Mr Barnier and Lord Frost had agreed a set of principles for an “intensified phase of talks”.

But, Number 10 acknowledged that “significant gaps” remain between the two sides and it was “entirely possible that negotiations will not succeed”.

The negotiations had been in limbo after Mr Johnson’s deadline for a deal passed last week.

The main stumbling blocks remain fishing rights, the governance of any deal and the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition, which includes state subsidies.

And there is little time to reach an agreement before the end of the transition period on December 31.

Mr Barnier told the European Parliament: “Our door remains open. It will remain open right up until the last day when we can work together.”

But he said “it takes two to make a deal”, adding: “We are not sure that’s the outcome we will obtain and that’s why we need to be ready to deal with the consequences of a possible no deal scenario.”

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Extending an olive branch to the UK, Mr Barnier indicated the EU was willing to make compromises – but only if Mr Johnson also agreed to give ground.

He said: “We will seek the necessary compromises on both sides in order to do our utmost to reach an agreement and we will do so right up until the last day which it’s possible to do so.”

Downing Street said the UK’s position had been set out by Mr Johnson and Michael Gove, who had been clear the EU had to be serious about talking intensively, on all issues, and bringing the negotiation to a conclusion, as well as accepting that it was dealing with an “independent and sovereign country”.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “We welcome the fact that Mr Barnier acknowledged both points this morning, and additionally that movement would be needed from both sides in the talks if agreement was to be reached.

“As he made clear, ‘any future agreement will be made in respect of the decision-making autonomy of the European Union and with respect for British sovereignty’.”

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