Brexit: Getting a deal is 'critical' says Australia's Malcolm Turnbull
In leaked messages to members of the European Research Group (ERG), the Prime Minister declared the Government will finally “vindicate” the people four years after the referendum. With Brexit talks failing to produce a deal, Mr Johnson stated the UK will operate on WTO terms in the new year if Brussels does not recognise Britain’s sovereignty. Despite claims a deal could soon be reached, the UK Government has moved to declare no progress has been made.
Mr Johnson messaged the ERG – a group of Tory MPs made up of the most hardline Brexiteers – last night with time running out to agree a deal, the Telegraph reports.
The message said: “Never fear folks we will vindicate the people in full or else as I have said many times we will start the new year on WTO terms!”
It was reported this week the Christmas recess may be delayed in order for MPs to ratify any agreement which is brought back to Parliament.
Chief among the issues remaining within talks is the level playing field.
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The EU has attempted to tie the UK into its regulatory alignment in order to prevent Britain from undercutting the single market.
They have also insisted on so-called ‘ratchet clauses’ which stated tariffs can be increased on all sectors if one side drop standards.
It is thought, however, the two sides may agree to non-regression clauses on the issues such as workers’ rights and environmental standards.
Within the level playing field, sources claim the two sides could agree to a joint independent dispute mechanism to determine tariff increases.
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Amid the possibility of an agreement between the two sides, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated the path to a deal is narrow.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, she claimed most issues have now been resolved bar fisheries and fair competition.
She said: “As things stand, I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not.
“But I can tell you that there is a path to an agreement now.
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“The path may be very narrow but it is there.
“We have found a way forward on most issues but two issues still remain outstanding: the level playing field and fisheries.
“I am glad to report that issues linked to governance now have largely been resolved.
“The next days are going to be decisive.”
Within the level playing field, Ms von der Leyen claimed the two sides had now come to an agreement on common principles on state aid.
On fisheries, however, she claimed the EU must protect the stability of European fishing fleets.
She added: “We do not question the UK’s sovereignty on its own waters.
“But we ask for predictability and stability for our fishermen and our fisherwomen.
“And, in all honesty, it sometimes feels that we will not be able to resolve this question.
“But we must continue to try to find a solution and it is the only responsible and right course of action.”
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