BORIS Johnson has admitted it is proving "very very difficult" to get a Brexit trade deal with the EU as the stalemate continues.

Later this week the PM will travel to Brussels later this week for a crunch meeting with EU Chief Ursula Von Der Leyen.

A 90-minute phone call between the pair yesterday failed to reach a breakthrough – leaving the UK hurtling towards a no-deal Brexit.

In a last ditch effort to salvage a deal, the Prime Minister hopes a face-to-face meeting might achieve what months of back and forth negotiations between the UK and the EU haven't and find consensus in key areas.

The news comes as Barclays share price was down 1.25% today as investors worried about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit which it is feared could have a 2% hit to the economy and cost 300k jobs as firms move abroad.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Britta Zeltmann

    EU TALKS 'VERY CORDIAL'

    The European Commission said the call between Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen had been "very cordial" but no date had yet been fixed for their meeting in Brussels.

    Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters in Brussels the call had focused on the "sticking points" in the negotiations.

    There will be further discussions between the negotiating teams to draw up a list of the main obstacles which will be the subject of the forthcoming meeting between Mr Johnson and the European Commission president.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    BRUSSELS TUSSLE

    Boris Johnson will jet to Brussels "in the coming days" in one last ditch bid to get a Brexit trade deal over the line.

    The Prime Minister’s offer to dash across the Channel came after a “difficult” forty minute call with EU boss Ursula von der Leyen where both sides admitted their negotiation teams had reached the “end of the road.”

    Last night insiders described the call as “difficult at times” but insisted it remained “perfectly courteous” despite gaping differences remaining between the two sides.

    Sources said the call was “polite but firm” but clear the PM and Ms von der Leyen were “miles apart still on real make or break stuff”.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    NO DEAL 'COULD WIPE 2% OFF GDP'

    The Office for Budget Responsibility has suggested that a no-deal situation could wipe 2% off gross domestic product, a measure of the size of the economy, in 2021.

    Bank governor Andrew Bailey warned that the long-term damage caused by a no-deal situation would be worse than the economic hit from coronavirus.

    But Boris Johnson has urged people to "be in good cheer" as there were "great options ahead" for the country.

    During a visit to a hospital in London he said: "Whatever happens, it's going to be different on January 1.

    "Whatever kind of deal we get, whether it's going to be like Australia or like Canada, there is going to be change, and businesses and people need to get ready for that change."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    BRUSSELS TALKS: MAKE OR BREAK

    Boris Johnson's trip to Brussels this week is seen as a make-or-break moment for the Brexit process after months of talks led by Lord Frost and Michel Barnier.

    No day has yet been fixed for Mr Johnson's meeting with the European Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen but it is expected later this week and follows a lengthy telephone call on Monday.

    Mr Barnier reportedly told MEPs the deadline for the talks succeeding is Wednesday, but Downing Street said it was prepared to continue talks for "as long as we have time available" – keeping the door open for an agreement to be reached at or after Thursday's EU Council gathering.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    TRADE DEAL TALKS 'VERY TRICKY'

    Boris Johnson has warned that talks with the European Union on a trade deal were proving "very tricky" ahead of a crunch meeting with Brussels' top official.

    The Prime Minister said he was still hopeful about reaching a deal but it was proving "very, very difficult" to make progress.

    Later this week Mr Johnson will head to Brussels for face-to-face talks with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in an attempt to salvage a deal, with time running out before the current trading arrangements expire at the end of the month.

    Mr Johnson said he hoped the "power of sweet reason" would triumph but Brussels had to accept there were limits to what terms the UK would be prepared to accept.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    'WILLING TO TRY ANYTHING'

    Of discussions over the next couple of days, Mr Johnson this morning said: "We will see where we get to in the course of the next two days, but I think the UK Government's position is that we are willing to engage at any level, political or otherwise, we are willing to try anything.

    "But there are just limits beyond which no sensible, independent government or country could go and people have got to understand that."

    Credit: Getty Images – Getty
  • Britta Zeltmann

    PM 'OPTIMISTIC' ABOUT BRUSSELS MEETING

    Asked whether his forthcoming meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen could achieve a breakthrough, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he has to be "optimistic" but "it's looking very, very difficult at the moment".

    "We will do our level best, but I would just say to everybody: be in good cheer, there are great options ahead for our country on any view.

    "But the key thing is on January 1, whatever happens, there is going to be change."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    'WE WILL PROSPER MIGHTILY'

    Boris Johnson said: "Whatever happens, it's going to be different on January 1.

    "Whatever kind of deal we get, whether it's going to be like Australia or like Canada, there is going to be change, and businesses and people need to get ready for that change."

    He added: "We are always hopeful but there may come a moment when we have to acknowledge that it is time to draw stumps, and that is just the way it is.

    "We will prosper mightily, as I have always said, under any version, and if we have to go for an Australian solution then that's fine too."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    PM: 'I WILL DO MY BEST'

    Boris Johnson has again insisted the UK will "prosper mightily" with or without a trade deal with the European Union.

    In a message to Brussels, the Prime Minister said: "Our friends have just got to understand the UK has left the EU in order to be able to exercise democratic control over the way we do things.

    "There is also the issue of fisheries where we are a long way apart still.

    "But hope springs eternal, I will do my best to sort it out if we can."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    PM 'VERY HOPEFUL' OF DEAL

    Boris Johnson has said he is "very hopeful" of a Brexit deal ahead of his trip to Brussels this week.

    Asked whether he was hopeful of a deal, the PM told reporters at a London hospital this morning: "I'm always hopeful… yes, I am very hopeful, but I've got to be honest with you I think the situation at the moment is very tricky."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    BRITAIN'S JOINT STATEMENT WITH EU

    In a joint statement published after their telephone exchange, Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen said: "As agreed on Saturday, we took stock today of the ongoing negotiations.

    "We agreed that the conditions for finalising an agreement are not there, due to the remaining significant differences on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries.

    "We asked our chief negotiators and their teams to prepare an overview of the remaining differences to be discussed in a physical meeting in Brussels in the coming days."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    BORIS WILL HEAD TO BRUSSELS THIS WEEK

    Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have agreed to meet in Brussels after a lengthy telephone call on Monday – their second in 48 hours – to take stock of the faltering negotiations.

    When they meet in the Belgian capital – with Wednesday and Thursday thought to be the most likely days this week – it will be the first time they have convened in-person since January, in a sign that talks are being stepped up.

    The move comes after the pair acknowledged significant differences remained with time running out before current trading arrangements expire at the end of the month.

    A UK Government source said "no tangible progress" had been made during the negotiations, which they described as "looking very tricky", and said "this must now continue politically".

    The source warned there was a possibility that the talks could still collapse.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    EU SHARES DIP

    European shares dipped on Tuesday, as a post-Brexit trade deal hung in the balance.

    The pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.1%, while London's FTSE 100, which has been outperforming regional peers in recent sessions, fell 0.4% to lead declines.

    After British and EU leaders failed to narrow differences on Monday, they are set to meet face-to-face in last ditch attempts to seal a deal to govern around $1 trillion in annual trade before Britain exits from the bloc at the end of the month.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    UK JOBS ATTRACTING MORE INTEREST FROM OUTSIDE EU

    UK jobs are attracting more interest from international candidates based outside the EU than from Europeans for the first time in seven years, according to data released by the world’s largest job site, Indeed.

    During the past year the share of clicks on UK vacancies by candidates based outside the EU has jumped by a fifth (19.7%).

    By contrast, the share of clicks from EU workers has barely changed, increasing by just 1.3% from 2019 to 2020.

    The gap in interest in UK jobs between EU workers and non-EU jobseekers has been closing since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

    Indeed’s data shows that for the first time since 2014 interest in UK jobs from non-European workers outstrips that from European candidates.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    'EU MUST GIVE GROUND'

    A senior government source has said the EU must give ground or there would be no trade deal by Dec. 31, when a Brexit transition period expires, a Times Radio reporter said.

    "Much might depend on whether the EU think the PM is bluffing about no deal. No10 adamant he isn't," Tom Newton Dunn said, referring to 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office.

    Newton Dunn added that a senior government figure had said the EU had to give ground or it would be "no deal, 'and that'll be that'."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    BORIS 'STRAINING EVERY SINEW' FOR DEAL

    Boris Johnson is "straining every sinew" to get a Brexit deal that works for both sides but the EU must want to do it too, his health minister said on Tuesday.

    "I know the Prime Minister is straining every sinew to try to get a deal that works for both the UK and the EU, that deal is potentially doable but the EU obviously has to want to do it," he told Sky News. 

  • Britta Zeltmann

    'FRANCE WILL VETO ANY BAD DEAL'

    France will oppose any pact that "sacrifices" its fishermen, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on Tuesday.

    "On fisheries there is no reason to yield to Britain's pressure. We can make some efforts but sacrificing fisheries and fishermen, no," Beaune told RMC radio, reiterating that France would veto any agreement it considered a "bad" deal.

    A senior UK government source said on Monday there was "every chance we are not going to get there" with a deal and EU officials have said, if anything, negotiations had gone backwards.

    Asked if there was still a chance to reach a deal, Beaune said: "I do not want to acknowledge a failure (of the talks). I think we still have a few days to negotiate."

  • Mark Hodge

    Boris Johnson will fly to Brussels "in the coming days" in one last ditch bid to get a Brexit trade deal done.

    The PM's offer to dash across the Channel came after a “difficult” forty minute call with EU boss Ursula von der Leyen where both sides admitted their negotiation teams had reached the “end of the road.”

    Last night sources described the call as “difficult at times” but insisted it remained “perfectly courteous” despite gaping differences remaining between the two sides.

    A Government insider claimed there had been no movement at all since Friday in the standoff over fishing waters and binding Britain to EU red tape forever.

    Mr Johnson could travel to Brussels as soon as today ahead of a meeting of the other EU 27 countries in the Belgian capital scheduled for Thursday.

  • Joseph Gamp

    VACCINES FROM EUROPE 'WILL GET TO THE UK BEFORE BREXIT'

    Any coronavirus vaccine available from Europe before the end of the year will be able to make it to the UK before Brexit, the manufacturing lead for the UK's vaccine taskforce has said.

    While the UK leaving Europe adds "complexity" to the process, robust plans are in place to mitigate Brexit.

    The first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have already arrived from Belgium, and if approved, the initial doses of the Oxford jab are due to be dispatched from Germany to the UK.

    Later batches of the Oxford vaccine will be manufactured in the UK.

    Ian McCubbin, manufacturing lead for the taskforce, said: "All the vaccines that will be available prior to Christmas, and the end of the year, will get to the UK so that we get them into the country while we're still in Europe. In the very very short term we will bring these vaccines into the country before Brexit actually happens."

  • Joseph Gamp

    HILARY BENN: COUNTRY WILL NOT FORGIVE GOVERNMENT FOR IMPOSING NO DEAL

    Labour's Hilary Benn said the country will not forgive the Government if they impose a no-deal Brexit.

    The chairman of the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union told MPs: "Now I think the Prime Minister's dilemma with this Bill, and indeed with the talks, is best explained in this way – four-and-a-bit years ago he famously decided to publish the second of two articles which he had written about Brexit. One of them was for leaving the EU, the other was against.

    "And when he made that decision he climbed on the back of what I would describe as 'the back of the Brexit tiger'. It has taken him on quite a journey – it has taken him through the door of 10 Downing Street, which I'm sure was his hope.

    "But there is just one problem, it is not entirely clear he knows how to get off the tiger in order to secure a deal, and he is the prisoner of the fateful decision that he made."

    Mr Benn added that "it is not that he wasn't aware of the consequences. The country will not forgive this Government if it imposes no-deal upon us."

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM AND EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT WILL MEET TO TRYAND BREAK BREXIT DEADLOCK

    Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen look set to meet in person this week in a bid to break the stalemate in post-Brexit trade deal talks.

    The Prime Minister and Mrs von der Leyen spoke on the telephone on Monday evening, and agreed to ask their chief negotiators to prepare an overview of the “remaining differences”.

    The leaders will then discuss them in person in a physical meeting in Brussels “in the coming days”.

    In a joint statement, they said: “As agreed on Saturday, we took stock today of the ongoing negotiations. We agreed that the conditions for finalising an agreement are not there, due to the remaining significant differences on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries.

    “We asked our chief negotiators and their teams to prepare an overview of the remaining differences to be discussed in a physical meeting in Brussels in the coming days.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    EXPLAINED: NO DEAL BREXIT- WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU

    Brexit talks are on a knife-edge this week and could see a No Deal exit declared within days if an agreement can't be sealed.

    Both sides are still at loggerheads over whether Britain will align with the EU after December 31 – when the transition period ends – along with fishing quotas and governing rules.

    Britain and the EU have been pushing for a deal for months – but Boris has made it clear he will leave with No Deal (what he calls on Australian terms) if he has to.

    So what would leaving the union without a deal really mean?

    Find out more here.

    Both sides are still at loggerheads over whether Britain will align with the EU after December 31
  • Joseph Gamp

    SNP'S JOANNA CHERRY SAYS 'DAMAGE IS DONE' BY CONTROVERSIAL INTERNAL MARKET BILL

    The SNP's Joanna Cherry said that even if the controversial clauses in the UK Internal Market Bill are removed "the damage is done".

    Ms Cherry (Edinburgh South West) said: "First of all I want to say something about the reports that the Government may yet agree to the removal of part five of this Bill.

    "That is all very well and good, but the problem is that the damage is done.

    "It is now known across Europe and internationally that this British Government is prepared to break its word in an international treaty in order to get its own way."

  • Joseph Gamp

    GOVERNMENT DEFEATED OVER PARLIAMENTARY SCRUTINY OF POST-BREXIT TRADE DEALS

    The Government has been defeated in the Lords over giving Parliament a bigger say in the approval of post-Brexit trade agreements.

    Peers backed by 308 votes to 261, majority 47, a cross-party amendment to the Trade Bill calling for greater accountability and transparency of deals.

    The legislation will enable the UK to forge new commercial ties with other countries after breaking from the EU.

    But members of the Lords said negotiating objectives should be put before Parliament and approved by both Houses before talks on potential trade agreements start.

    The amendment also urged the Government to consult the devolved administrations on negotiating objectives and assess the possible impact on human health, animal welfare and the environment.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MPS VOTE TO REINSERT CONTROVERSIAL SECTION OF INTERNAL MARKET BILL

    MPs voted 357 to 268, majority 89, to reinsert a controversial section of the UK Internal Market Bill which enables ministers to breach international law.

    The Commons disagreed with Lords amendment 47, thereby adding clause 47 back into the Bill.

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