Great Britain

Brexit news live – Trade talks take turn for worse as EU tables fresh demands at eleventh hour

EU'RE KIDDING?

BREXIT talks took a turn for the worse last night after the EU whipped out fresh demands.

France has been blamed by sources for the 11th hour spanner in the works, dashing hopes of a breakthrough any time soon.

The last minute terms would severely limit the UK Government’s ability to support struggling industries and keep us tied to EU rules for years.

And Brussels was still refusing to accept Britain’s offer for EU fishing boats to keep 40 per cent of their catch in UK seas.

It came after EU countries began to turn on each other publicly, with Ireland slamming Emmanuel Macron’s hardline approach.

Sources close to the UK team said the talks were on the verge of collapse.

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

  • EXPLAINER: WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    The UK and EU are locked in trade talks over what the future relationship will look like.

    There are only 28 days until the end of the transition period and a deal is yet to be agreed.

    The EU and Britain still disagree over future arrangements for areas such as fisheries, state aid and financial services – potentially jeopardising the prospect of a deal.

    The trade talks could break down, but what would that mean for Brits?

    Check out our handy explainer HERE.

  • 'CHANCE OF BREAKTHROUGH RECEDING'

    A government source said the prospect of a breakthrough in post-Brexit trade negotiations between the UK and EU is "receding".

    But the source said a breakthrough "could be possible in the next few days".

    In London talks continue into the night, with current trading rules to expire on December 31.

  • BREXIT TO LEAVE SOME WORSE OFF

    Brexit is predicted to leave Plymouth residents hundreds of pounds worse off, city councillors have heard.

    A no-deal scenario would mean tariffs on imports which would hit the poorest hardest, and a potential shortage of seasonal migrant workers – which would have a knock-on effect on produce prices.

    Kelvin Mckenzie, policy adviser to the council, said the Bank of England was predicting a short-term drop of one per cent in output in the first three months of next year on top of the recession caused by the pandemic, Plymouth Live reports.

    Government analysis predicts a no-deal Brexit would reduce the UK economy by 7.6 per cent by 2035, or 4.9 per cent with a free trade deal.

    Mr Mckenzie said people in Plymouth would be £356 a year out of pocket if the most optimistic forecast materialised.

    The total loss to the city’s economy was forecast at around £400million by 2035, using Government figures.

  • BOEING FIRST ORDER OF 737 MAX

    Boeing picked up its first major order for the 737 MAX since the aircraft was grounded for 20 months following two fatal crashes, as Irish no-frills airline Ryanair signed a deal to acquire 75 of the planes.

    The order -- which lifted Boeing shares for a second straight session -- was a sign of confidence in the aircraft which is moving towards a return to service following approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month after upgrades to the plane and pilot training protocols.

    "Ryanair... today signed a purchase agreement with Boeing for 75 new MAX-8200 aircraft," the Irish airline said in a statement announcing it was converting options for jets worth $7.0 billion (5.8 billion euros) at list prices.

    Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun vowed that the US aerospace giant had "recommitted" to safety to ensure that such devastating accidents never happen again.

    "We will never forget the accidents that put us in the place that we were. Ever," Calhoun told journalists at a news conference unveiling the news.

  • SWITZERLAND-UK POST-BREXIT DEAL

    Switzerland and the UK are expected to agree a deal on Friday allowing professional workers to keep travelling freely between the two countries post-Brexit, The Telegraph reported on Thursday.

    Trade Secretary Liz Truss and her Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin are expected to sign the agreement in the next two weeks in London, the story said.

  • FOUR WEEKS TO GO

    EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is due to update 27 national envoys to the bloc's hub Brussels on Friday on the latest in the talks.

    A senior British government source said the prospect of a breakthrough in the next few days was receding.

    A member of Barnier's team said earlier on Thursday that significant gaps remained on the three most contentious issues and that the final outcome was still uncertain.

    "The long and the short story is that talks are continuing in London. Significant divergences remain," Stefaan de Rynck told a seminar in the Belgian capital.

    He likened the negotiations to a marathon.

  • 'CHANGE IN ATMOSPHERE'

    BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said there seems to be a "change in the atmosphere today".

  • REFUSING TO VOTE WOULD BE 'TWO FINGERS UP' TO FORMER LABOUR VOTERS

    Labour must not abstain in a vote on any Brexit deal Boris Johnson agrees with the EU, a shadow minister has warned.

    Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central, told HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast that refusing to vote would amount to “putting two fingers up” to former Labour voters who supported leaving the European Union.

    The shadow minister said “it was better to be strong” and take a side.

    This comes after shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds argued that the party should abstain and therefore cannot be blamed for the economic impact of Brexit, The FT reports.

    Some shadow cabinet members including the likes of Emily Thornberry and David Lammy are reluctant to vote in favour of a deal.

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer reiterated this morning that a deal is in the “national interest”.

  • BORIS HINTS POTENTIAL TAX CUTS

    Boris Johnson vowed tonight that by next summer Britain will be in a "different world" as he hinted at tax cuts to help bounce back from coronavirus.

    The PM insisted that it's his "strong hope and belief" and that by next summer life would be back to normal. He also hinted at tax cuts and dashing red tape to get Britain booming again.

    Boris said that businesses was "the motor that is going to enable us to pay for all the things we need in the future" and pay back the nation's mounting Covid debt.

    He added: "'We'll be looking at the tax environment and the regulatory environment and everything we can do to encourage and support business in this country.

    "The single best thing you can do for business is to get the disease right under control.

    "An ounce of confidence is worth a tonne of Rishi's money."

  • IRISH EXPORTERS FACE EXTRA COMPLICATIONS AT CALAIS

    Irish firms exporting food to Europe via the UK will face extra complications at Calais because the French authorities were “too fast” in developing their system to cope with Brexit.

    The Irish Government and the EU Commission agreed in June that Irish produce coming across the UK land bridge were due to be exempt from a number of controls applying to them, RTE reports.

    But, this exemption will not be possible as France has already developed its new automated system for controlling huge volumes of trade coming from British ports.

    There will be no controls on foodstuffs shipped directly to France from Ireland as that’s regarded as intra-EU movements.

  • UK SET TO 'SLEEPWALK INTO CASHLESS SOCIETY'

    MPs have been told today that the UK will "sleepwalk into a cashless society unless the government draws up legislation to make it mandatory for shops to accept bank notes.

    Conservative Paul Maynard said: “A more radical idea still might be that there is a short-term legal requirement for shops to continue to accept cash as a primary way to protect both acceptance of cash and by protecting the cash infrastructure, including ATMs.”

    Ms Fovargue agreed, adding: “Things are happening piecemeal at the moment. Bank branches are shutting, ATMs are closing, increasing numbers of shops going cashless - it may be we would have to look at it being mandatory for shops to accept cash, particularly for those providing the essentials, for example food and medicine.

    “Covid-19 pushed an already fragile cash system to the brink of collapse. Unless the Government acts now, we'll effectively sleepwalk into a cashless society and millions will be left behind.”

  • 'GOOD CHANCE’ OF A DEAL, SAYS DUBLIN

    There is a good chance that the UK and EU will agree a post-Brexit trade deal within days, Ireland’s foreign minister has said.

    It’s the time to hold our nerve and trust Michel Barnier. And I believe if we do that, there’s a good chance that we can get a deal across the line in the next few days,” Simon Coveney told Newstalk.

    Last night, PM Boris Johnson spelled out during a Downing Street press conference that Britain’s “bottom line” was to “take back control”.

    Mr Johnson said he’s “absolutely committed” to trying to reach an agreement with the EU-27.

  • ‘MINI BREXIT’: STATUE OF THATCHER DIVIDES HOMETOWN

    A statue commemorating Margaret Thatcher has divided her home town of Grantham.

    The monument was rejected by Westminster in 2018 amid fears that it would a target for vandalism, so it was offered to the Lincolnshire town.

    The council’s decision to underwrite a £100,000 unveiling ceremony this week has reignited the debate on whether the statue should be erected.

    Les Steptoe, chair of Grantham Labour, told the Guardian: “We find that in the middle of a pandemic, when the public coffers both on a national level and a local level, are emptying very quickly, their sense of priorities to be absolutely perverse.”

    “She was arguably the most divisive prime minister this country’s has ever had and this is an incredibly divisive decision by the local Tories.”

    Amanda Schonhut, director of fundraising at Grantham museum, branded the issue as a “mini Brexit”.

  • REES-MOGG ACCUSED OF PEDDLING 'FAKE NEWS' OVER VACCINE BREXIT CLAIMS

    Jacob Rees-Mogg has been accused of peddling "fake news" after he claimed the Covid vaccine was approved quickly because of Brexit.

    UK health regulators approved the Pfizer vaccine yesterday, and a mass rollout will begin next week.

    The Leader of the House of Commons tweeted that "we could approve this vaccine so quickly because we have left the EU".

    Shadow leader of the Commons Valerie Vaz branded this as "fake news" and claimed it had "nothing to do with Brexit".

    MHRA chief June Raine confirmed that the approval of the vaccine was made under the provisions of EU law.

  • EXPLAINER: WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    The UK and EU are locked in trade talks over what the future relationship will look like.

    There are only 28 days until the end of the transition period and a deal is yet to be agreed.

    The EU and Britain still disagree over future arrangements for areas such as fisheries, state aid and financial services – potentially jeopardising the prospect of a deal.

    The trade talks could break down, but what would that mean for Brits?

    Check out our handy explainer HERE.

  • HULL'S PORT INSPECTION TEAM DOUBLED TO DEAL WITH BREXIT WORKLOAD

    The workforce at Hull's port is set to double as part of a major post-Brexit recruitment drive.

    There will be a massive increase in workload for customs and health officials at the port - irrespective of whether a deal is reached between the UK and EU.

    The ports of Hull and Killingholme handle nearly 150kg of imported food from the EU each year.

    A forecast predicted that nearly 19,000 checks a year would be required on EU products being shipped into the ports.

    This comes after over 30 years of no port health checks on imported foodstuffs.

  • SLICE OF THE ACTION

    Brexit negotiators scoffed pizza in a late-night negotiating session yesterday as Britain moved closer towards a deal.

    Several boxes of it were delivered to fuel the teams during a late-night session as make-or-break talks continued to run down to the wire.

    Discussions are coming close to the end of the road as both sides gear up for the final push to try and seal a deal before December 31.

    One EU source said: "Some negotiators believe an agreement can still be concluded on Friday". 

    And one UK source added: "The pizza helped."

  • SHADOW MINISTER SAYS LABOUR MUST NOT ABSTAIN ON BREXIT VOTE

    Labour must not abstain in a vote on any Brexit deal Boris Johnson agrees with the EU, a shadow minister has warned.

    Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central, told HuffPost UK's Commons People podcast that refusing to vote would amount to "putting two fingers up" to former Labour voters who supported leaving the European Union.

    The shadow minister said "it was better to be strong" and take a side.

    This comes after shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds argued that the party should abstain and therefore cannot be blamed for the economic impact of Brexit, The FT reports.

    Some shadow cabinet members including the likes of Emily Thornberry and David Lammy are reluctant to vote in favour of a deal.

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer reiterated this morning that a deal is in the "national interest".

  • BREXIT TO LEAVE PEOPLE IN PLYMOUTH HUNDREDS OF POUNDS WORSE OFF

    Brexit is predicted to leave Plymouth residents hundreds of pounds worse off, city councillors have heard.

    A no-deal scenario would mean tariffs on imports which would hit the poorest hardest, and a potential shortage of seasonal migrant workers - which would have a knock-on effect on produce prices.

    Kelvin Mckenzie, policy adviser to the council, said the Bank of England was predicting a short-term drop of one per cent in output in the first three months of next year on top of the recession caused by the pandemic, Plymouth Live reports.

    Government analysis predicts a no-deal Brexit would reduce the UK economy by 7.6 per cent by 2035, or 4.9 per cent with a free trade deal.

    Mr Mckenzie said people in Plymouth would be £356 a year out of pocket if the most optimistic forecast materialised.

    The total loss to the city’s economy was forecast at around £400million by 2035, using Government figures.

  • STARMER: 'WE'LL PULL TOGETHER AND BE UNITED' ON BREXIT

    Sir Keir Starmer has said "we'll pull together" and "be united" amid reports that there's a difference of opinion within the shadow cabinet on how Labour should vote on a potential Brexit deal.

    It comes after shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds argued that the party should abstain and therefore cannot be blamed for the economic impact of Brexit, The FT reports.

    Those who are reported to be backing Dodds' position include Emily Thornberry, Bridget Phillipson and David Lammy.

    Sir Keir told Sky: "Labour is absolutely united. We’ve pulled together incredibly over the last few months through difficult decision and we’ll do so on this decision again.

    "Of course there are different opinions as you would expect, but we’ll pull together, discuss it as a team and be united."

    Mr Starmer emphasised how a deal was in the "national interest".

  • WELSH FIRST MINISTER BRANDS HOLYHEAD PORT PLANS A 'SHAMBLES'

    Post-Brexit plans for the port of Holyhead show "just how shambolic" UK government ministers have been on Brexit, Wales' first minister has said.

    Mark Drakeford said the UK government was "in a scramble" to resolve the issues around the Anglesey port with less than a month to go until the end of the transition period, BBC reports.

    The government is reportedly in talks to buy a transport cafe near Holyhead for a customs site.

    HMRC said it was planning "for the full introduction" of border controls by 2021.

    The first minister said: "They've had three and a half years to grapple with this and still at this very last minute are in a scramble to resolve.

    "It's just a sign of what is to come, and those who argued for it [Brexit] are responsible."

  • PRICE OF FRUIT AND VEG TO INCREASE UNDER NO DEAL

    The price of fruit and vegetables will increase if there are new trade tariffs between the UK and EU, according to a study.

    A report published by the Sustainable & Healthy Food Systems revealed that the price of fruit and veg would increase by four per cent.

    Tomatoes may become nine per cent more expensive if no trade deal is agreed.

    "The actual impact could be even larger; extra costs that are not taken into account in our analysis, such as transaction costs due to border checks, could further exacerbate the estimated effect," said Paraskevi Seferidi, research fellow at Imperial College London.

    The UK is highly reliant on vegetable imports, currently 65% of UK supply, according to research cited by the study.

  • 'SIGNIFICANT' GAPS REMAIN ON KEY ISSUES, SAYS EU NEGOTIATOR

    Significant gaps on fisheries, the level playing field and dispute settling remain in Brexit trade talks with the UK, a member of the EU's negotiating team has said.

    "The long and the short story is that talks are continuing in London.

    "Significant divergences remain. Both sides are working hard to overcome them but the outcome is uncertain,” said Stefaan de Rynck, a member of Michel Barnier's team.

    "This has been a marathon. We are probably past kilometre 40," he added.

  • TEST OF CONTINGENCY PLANS ON M20 IN KENT TO TAKE PLACE NEXT WEEK

    Plans to keep traffic moving in Kent in the event of cross-Channel disruption will undergo a live test next week.

    There are fears within government that ports could experience some short-term disruption from January 1 - whatever the outcome of the Brexit trade talks are.

    The test event will start on December 11 and parts of the motorway will be shut between Maidstone and Ashford for four nights.

    A barrier will create a new contraflow system, allowing traffic to continue travelling in both directions on the motorway at the same time as port bound HGVs are queued, if necessary, on the coastbound carriageway until they can travel through to the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel.

    The barrier is part of Operation Brock - a series of measures aimed at keeping the M20 open in both directions in the event of cross channel disruption.

  • NORTHERN IRISH BUSINESSES CANNOT ACCESS VITAL POST-BREXIT IT SERVICES WITH JUST FOUR WEEKS TO GO

    Business leaders in Northern Ireland are growing increasingly frustrated as many of the key post-Brexit customs systems are still undergoing testing.

    HMRC officials admit they expect there to be "only broad functioning" border systems in place by the end of the transition period.

    The UK is set to leave the EU's single market and customs union but Northern Ireland will still follow some EU rules in order to prevent a hard border.

    The Customs Declaration System (CDS) and the new Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) won't be open for registration until later this month.

    "If a retailer were rolling out that sort of change, then they'd be rolling that out over a year or 18 months. They wouldn't be rolling it out in five working days,” said Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium.

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