Brexit negotiators Lord Frost and Michel Barnier are expected to speak on Monday after Michael Gove said the door was “ajar” for trade talks to resume. Also this morning Tory Minister Robert Jenrick said the EU needed to show more maturity to get a deal done.
The Cabinet Office minister said negotiations could go ahead if the EU changes its approach, despite Downing Street previously declaring discussions as “over”.
EU negotiator Mr Barnier was expecting to be called by his Downing Street counterpart on Monday afternoon, though No 10 was no more specific than saying the discussion would come early in the week.
Face-to-face talks will take place in London between Mr Gove and his opposite number on the UK-EU joint committee, Maros Sefcovic, in the morning.
Time is running out
Meanwhile, the Government launched a “time is running out” campaign urging businesses to get ready for the end of the transition period on December 31, regardless of whether a trade deal is in place.
Businesses, increasingly concerned about the high tariffs of a no-deal exit, called on both sides to find a compromise for a deal.
Confederation of British Industry deputy director general Josh Hardie warned of a “hat-trick of unprecedented challenges” from the first wave of coronavirus, its resurgence and “uncertainty over the UK’s trading relationship with the EU”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week accused European leaders of having “abandoned the idea of a free trade deal” and told the country to “get ready” for leaving without a trade deal.
Meanwhile, the UK’s five Anglican archbishops intervened to criticise the Government’s controversial new Brexit legislation as setting a “disastrous precedent” in a letter to the Financial Times ahead of a Lords debate.
Led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, they said the UK Internal Market Bill has “enormous moral, as well as political and legal, consequences” by paving the way for a breach of international law by overriding parts of the Withdrawal Agreement with Brussels.
On Sky News this morning presenter Kay Burley asked what happened to the oven ready deal we were promised?
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick said he wants a Canada style deal and the EU have not shown the flexibility that the UK has wished for. ‘Unless they come back with that level of flexibility and maturity. We will leave with the sort of arrangement Australia has,’ he said.
Burley then asked if Jenrick thought that EU was being immature? childish perhaps?
Jenrick replied that the EU has not come to UK with detailed text or ‘a degree of flexibility a sovereign nation dealing with another sovereign nation should’.