Brexit news latest – No deal Brexit 'worse than covid' for UK economy, Bank of England governor warns as deadline looms

MICHEL Barnier has warned that time is running out to secure a Brexit deal as negotiators prepare to start a final round of face-to-face talks on Thursday.

Writing on twitter, the EU's chief negotiator said: "Fundamental divergences still remain, but we are continuing to work hard for a deal."

It comes after Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told the House of Commons Treasury Committee that the long-term impact of a no-deal Brexit would be greater than the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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

  • Patrick Knox

    MICHEL BARNIER SET TO LEAVE COVID QUARANTINE FOR FINAL BREXIT TALKS IN LONDON

    The EU’s Brexit negotiator is expected to be given the all-clear to head to London for the last round of talks with Lord Frost, the chief British negotiator. 

    He said: "Time is short. Fundamental divergences still remain but we are continuing to work hard for a deal.”

    To prevent a no-deal cliff edge there needs to be an agreement before the transition period expires at midnight on New Year's Eve. 

    MEPs will now vote via an online video link on December 28, meaning that the draft agreement must be ready for next week — or early next month at the latest.

  • Patrick Knox

    ‘THE WORLD WILL CHANGE’ — IRISH PM

    The Irish Taoiseach said he hoped the outline of a Brexit deal will emerge by the end of the week as he urged Irish exporters to get ready for change.

    Speaking at Dublin Port yesterday, Micheal Martin said: "The world will change and it will not be as seamless as it once was. 

    “The bottom line is you need to get ready. It is not too late."

  • Patrick Knox

    BIDEN PUSHES NEW APPROACH TO EU IN CALLS TO LEADERS

    The US president-elect has spoken with the heads of the European Union institutions and NATO in a round of calls seen as part of his efforts to repair tattered transatlantic ties.

    Biden "underscored his commitment to deepen and revitalize the US-EU relationship," a statement from his office said after a call with Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission.

    In a marked difference in tone from US President Donald Trump, who branded the EU a "foe" and accused it of ripping off the US in trade, Biden expressed his hope that the two sides would "cooperate on common challenges."

    Von der Leyen sounded upbeat and optimistic — a sign of relief in many European capitals at the prospect of smoother ties after four years of conflict and tension under Trump.

    "Great to speak with President-elect JoeBiden," von der Leyen tweeted. 

    "It is a new beginning for the EU-US global partnership … working together can shape the global agenda based on cooperation, multilateralism, solidarity and shared values," she added.

  • Patrick Knox

    WELSH AND SCOTTISH MINISTERS DEMAND DEVOLUTION RESPECT OVER REPLACING EU FUNDS

    Ministers in the Scottish and Welsh administrations have called for the UK Government to respect devolution when it comes to replacing EU funding.

    Both devolved governments published proposals for the Shared Prosperity Fund last week with the Scottish Government's Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and Jeremy Miles, the Welsh Government's Brexit Minister, expressing frustration at no such publication from Westminster thus far.

    Ms Forbes has also called on the UK Government to use Wednesday's Spending Review to prioritise public services in a new, UK-wide package worth £98 billion.

  • Patrick Knox

    BRITAIN SET TO REVEAL POST BREXIT SPENDING PLANS

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver his spending review to parliament as the country nears the end of EU trade deal talks.

    It has attracted more attention than usual because the government decided in September to axe Sunak's planned autumn budget due to chronic virus turmoil.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    'TOTAL MESS'

    Joe Biden’s reported pick for the role of America’s top diplomat has previously referred to Brexit as “a total mess”.

    Mr Biden is understood to have chosen Anthony Blinken to serve as his Secretary of State, who last year compared Britain's exit from the EU to a dog being run over by a car, the Independent reports.

    Speaking last year, Mr Blinken said: “This is not just the dog that caught the car, this is the dog that caught the car and the car goes into reverse and runs over the dog.

    “It’s a total mess.”

    He added that while it was difficult to make the case from the US for the UK to remain in the bloc and that Britain’s involvement in the continent had been America’s preferred option.

    His comments jar with the opinion of Donald Trump, who has been a vocal supporter of Brexit throughout his presidency.

  • Britta Zeltmann

    ‘UK MUST RESPECT DEVOLUTION’

    Ministers in Wales and Scotland have called for the UK Government to respect devolution when it comes to replacing EU funding.

    Both devolved governments published proposals for the Shared Prosperity Fund last week with the Scottish Government's Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and Jeremy Miles, the Welsh Government's Brexit Minister, expressing frustration at no such publication from Westminster as yet.

    Ms Forbes has also called on the UK Government to use Wednesday's Spending Review to prioritise public services in a new, UK-wide package worth £98 billion.

    She said: "I have made clear to the UK Government that I am deeply concerned that I am yet to see any evidence that they are committed to replacing EU funding in full or to engaging meaningfully with the devolved nations across a number of programmes including fisheries, structural funds and competitive programmes such as Erasmus Plus and Horizon Europe.

    "Ongoing attempts by the UK Government to undermine the devolution settlement in relation to powers and funding will continue to be resisted vigorously."

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to use the Review to announce a multibillion-pound plan investing in long-term infrastructure projects while also funding the fight against the coronavirus pandemic as the UK's exit from the European Union looms large.

    Mr Miles, Welsh Counsel General, said: "The UK Government must make good on promises repeatedly made that Brexit would not mean any loss of funding and that the devolution settlement would be respected.

    "The lack of transparency and collaboration that the UK Government has shown to date must now end, so that Wales gets the clarity it needs and the commitment to work through the Welsh Government which the devolution settlement demands."

    A UK Government spokesman said: "The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will bind together the whole of the UK while tackling inequality and deprivation.

    "We will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations and other interested parties as we develop the fund.

    "Further details will be set out following the upcoming Spending Review."

  • Christy Cooney

    'TIME IS SHORT' TO SECURE A DEAL, SAYS BARNIER

    Time is running out to secure a Brexit deal, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has warned.

    Barnier was speaking with talks between the UK and the EU set to resume on Thursday ahead of a deadline next Tuesday.

    Face-to-face negotiations were suspended last week when Barnier had to go into quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus.

    Taking to twitter today, he wrote: "Time is short. Fundamental divergences still remain, but we are continuing to work hard for a deal."

    The two key remaining stumbling blocks are reportedly fishing quotas and EU rules limiting state aid to companies.

  • Christy Cooney

    BIDEN STATE DEPT PICK COMPARED BREXIT TO A 'DOG BEING RUN OVER BY A CAR'

    President-elect Biden's nominee for Secretary of State once compared Brexit to a "dog being run over by a car".

    Anthony Blinken was speaking on the Pod Save The World podcast at a point last year when Theresa May was struggling to get her deal approved by parliament

    "This is not just the dog that caught the car, this is the dog that caught the car and the car goes into reverse and runs over the dog," he said.

    “It’s a total mess.”

    He also said that the Good Friday Agreement would have been "certainly a heck of a lot tougher” to achieve without the European Union.

  • Christy Cooney

    DEADLINE OF TUESDAY FOR TALKS

    EU leaders have reportedly set a deadline of Tuesday for the resolution of outstanding issues in Brexit negotiations.

    Face-to-face talks were paused last week after Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, had to go into quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus.

    Talks are set to resume on Thursday, meaning the two sides will have six days to resolve outstanding issues.

    The two key remaining stumbling blocks are reportedly fishing quotas and EU rules limiting state aid to companies.

  • Christy Cooney

    NO-DEAL BREXIT WOULD COST JOBS, SAYS DURHAM CHEESE FIRM

    A Durham cheese firm that employs 140 people has said that jobs could be lost in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    Speaking to the BBC, Nima Beni, director of the Prima Cheese processing company, said the firm would be unable to absorb the costs that would result from additional tariffs.

    "Mozzarella cheese, at the moment, is around £2.60 per kilogram. With World Trade Organisation tariffs you're then looking at £1.84 on top of that, which is massive," he said.

    He added: "From January, with exports to countries like Hong Kong or Singapore or Dubai, we are unsure how to be handling the documentation.

    "If we see a reduction in sales it will impact jobs."

  • Christy Cooney

    FISHING AND STATE AID REMAIN BIGGEST ISSUES

    Future arrangements for fishing quotas and the rules governing state aid remain the two biggest stumbling blocks in Brexit negotiations, the Telegraph reports.

    The two issues have featured prominently in reports on the negotiations throughout.

    The government is pushing for changes that would bring an increase in catches for British fishermen.

    It also wants to avoid being bound by EU rules that make it difficult for governments to offer state-backed financial assistance to firms.

    EU leaders have reportedly set a deadline for the resolution of outstanding issues of Tuesday next week.

  • Christy Cooney

    COST OF NO-DEAL BIGGER THAN COVID, SAYS BANK OF ENGLAND GOVERNOR

    The cost to the UK of a no-deal Brexit would be bigger in the long-term than the cost of the coronavirus pandemic, the governor of the Bank of England has said.

    Speaking before the House of Commons Treasury Committee, Andrew Bailey acknowledged that the virus was having a larger impact in the short-term, but added: "The long-term effects, I think, would be larger than the long-term effects of Covid.

    "It would be better to have a trade deal, no question about it."

    He said the chief damage of a no-deal Brexit would be caused by disruption to cross-border trade and the harm done to relations between London and Brussels that will be necessary for economic cooperation in the future, the Guardian reported.

  • Christy Cooney

    'MORE AMBITIOUS' TRADE TALKS WITH CANADA NEXT YEAR, SAYS TRUSS

    The UK and Canada will be negotiating an "even more ambitious" trade agreement in the new year, international trade secretary Liz Truss has said.

    Truss was speaking on a video call with Boris Johnson as well as Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and trade minister Mary Ng after the two sides agreed a deal that would replicate Canada's current arrangement with the EU.

    "The deal that we've negotiated secures certainty for British and Canadian businesses, safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs," Truss said.

    "It's a win-win for two close allies and friends and it maintains access to £20billion worth of trade.

    "I'm incredibly excited about getting back to the negotiating table… next year to do an even more ambitious trade agreement."

    UK agrees ‘fantastic’ trade deal with Canada in second major Brexit deal

  • Christy Cooney

    '£4.8BN BOOST FOR UK MANUFACTURING' FOLLOWING COVID AND BREXIT

    UK factories could produce an additional £4.8billion worth of goods for British retailers over the next 12 months because of the combined impact of coronavirus and Brexit, a report has found. 

    The estimate was published in a report by advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal and research group Retail Economics.

    The pandemic has exposed some weaknesses in global supply chains, prompting retailers to look closer to home for suppliers. 

    The risk of tariffs levied following a possible no-deal Brexit has also moved some to look at alternative suppliers based in the UK. 

    The new orders are set to come mostly from the food and fashion sectors, but could also be for DIY and homeware products, the Guardian reports. 

  • Hana Carter

    BORIS REFUSES TO ‘WATER DOWN’ BREXIT DEMANDS

    Boris Johnson has refused to “water down” demands in his last push to secure a Brexit deal.

    The PM is preparing to make a “significant intervention” in the talks as the UK edges closer towards leaving the EU.

    it comes as controversial documents were leaked over the weekend which reportedly revealed that EU officials believe a Brexit deal is “95 per cent agreed”.

  • Hana Carter

    WORST-CASE SCENARIO ‘SET TO BECOME REALITY’, FOOD SELLERS WARN

    Food industry leaders have warned that the shortages forecast under the government’s worst-case scenario planning are set to become reality.

    A report published by the Cabinet Office in September said that congestion caused by new border controls could cut food trade between the UK and EU by 40 percent.

    The UK currently imports 26 percent of its food from the EU.

    Speaking after a meeting with Defra officials to discuss the latest ‘worst-case scenario’ plans, one industry source told the Grocer: “A lot of us are looking at it and thinking, that’s just what’s going to happen.”

    Shane Brennan, CEO of the Cold Chain Federation, added: “No one’s going to starve… but there will be products missing and there will be inflationary pressure on prices.”

  • Hana Carter

    LEADERS PRAISE VACCINE VOLUNTEERS

    Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have both congratulated the scientists and volunteers who helped to bring about the encouraging Oxford Covid-19 vaccine results. 

  • Hana Carter

    LORRY DRIVERS STILL IN THE DARK OVER BREXIT PLANS

    MPs have failed to draw up plans for roadside toilets for lorry drivers trapped in traffic jams for Channel ports after Brexit.

    Truckers say they are still in the dark over rest room plans, amid fears thousands of vehicles being parked up on saturated motorways in Kent.

    “They cannot confirm what will be provided,” Adrian Jones, of the Unite trade union told a House of Lords committee.

  • Hana Carter

    JOHNSON SAYS MPS SHOULD NOT GET PAY RISE

    Boris Johnson has said that MPs should not have their salaries raised next year, according to the PM's official spokesperson.

    The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authorities (IPSA), which determines politicians’ pay, is considering a £3,360 pay increase for all MPS, which would bring their salaries to £85,291. 

    This comes as Rishi Sunak is reportedly set to declare a pay freeze for millions.

  • Shayma Bakht

    BRITAIN AND EU TO SET UP PHONE CALL THIS WEEK

    The chief political commentator at Times Radio says Boris Johnson and the European Commission's Ursula von der Leyen are likely to speak later in the week as the Brexit talks come to a head.

    Tom Newton Dunn said officials on both sides were setting up a phone call, or possibly even a face-to-face meeting, in what could be a deciding moment for the free trade talks.

  • Shayma Bakht

    IRISH PM SAYS SMALL BUSINESSES SHOULD PREPARE FOR A DEAL

    Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said today he hopes that the outline of a Brexit free trade deal will be ready by the end of the week, but warns smaller Irish exporters need to get ready for change.

    "I would be hopeful that, by the end of this week, that we could see the outlines of a deal, but that remains to be seen.

    "It is down to political will, both in the United Kingdom and I'm clear the political will is there from the European Union."

    "The one concern I'd have is maybe there is a complacency among some SMEs out there that everything will be OK.

    "It will be different, and you have to get that into your heads."

  • Hana Carter

    NEW TIERS SYSTEM TO BE ANNOUNCED AT 7PM TONIGHT

    Boris Johnson will announce the new Tiers system in a press conference tonight, expected to be around 7pm.

    The PM will update MPs in the House of Commons on the latest plans this afternoon, and will take questions from the public this evening.

    He will appear alongside Professor Chris Whitty and Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group.

    But the PM is still self isolating so will take part in the press conference remotedly.

    Boris is expected to reveal a tougher tier system in his Covid Winter Plan – with more rules for the areas with the highest cases.

  • Hana Carter

    TRADE DEAL TO BE REVIEWED IN 10 YEARS

    Negotiators are secretly haggling over a fishing fudge that could see the EU and UK Brexit trade deal reviewed in 10 years time, The Sun can reveal.

    In a bid to unlock deadlocked talks, Britain offered up a “review clause” on any fishing agreement after three to five years – but Brussels wants it in 10 to 15 years.

    And crucially they are demanding the appraisal must be of the whole trade deal, not just fishing – opening the door to a decade more of negotiations.

    The UK team are insisting fishing and wider trade agreement must be kept separate as talks go to the wire – but EU sources think they could climb down.

    Brits fear reviewing the terms of the deal in the future would give Brussels long-term leverage over them if UK fishing waters are back up for grabs in 2030.

  • Hana Carter

    IRISH PM HOPES FOR BREXIT FREE TRADE DEAL OUTLINE

    Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said today he hoped that by the end of the week the outline of a Brexit free trade deal will have emerged.

    Talking to reporters in Dublin, he added that he got a sense from both negotiating teams that they had made progress.

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