Boris orders Barnier to respect UK’s ‘fundamental’ Brexit aims ‘We’re taking back control’

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Boris Johnson insisted that the EU must respect Britain’s “fundamental” Brexit aims. The Prime Minister noted that the UK is still working on trying to get a deal with Brussels. Speaking at the Downing Street briefing on coronavirus, Mr Johnson said: “On Brexit and where we are with the negotiation, we remain absolutely committed to trying to get a deal if we can.

“I think our friend knows what the UK’s bottom line is and what people voted for on June 23, 2016.

“They voted to take back control.

“It’s about making sure the UK is able to run its own laws, its own fisheries and so on.

“It’s fundamentally what it’s all about and it’s what we are all working for.”

Mr Johnson remains “optimistic” that Britain can get a post-Brexit trade deal, Downing Street has said amid warnings talks with the EU have reached a “make or break” point.

Mr Barnier briefed ambassadors from the 27 member states on the latest negotiations amid little sign of progress on the key issues.

He was said to have warned that significant differences remain over fisheries, state aid rules and the governance arrangements for any agreement.

The German MEP David McAllister, of the European parliament’s Brexit co-ordination group – which also met Mr Barnier, said they had reached a “critical moment” in the negotiations.

He said agreement needed to be reached “within very few days” if the parliament and the member states were to complete the necessary “procedures” before the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year.

“This is the critical moment where principles need to be translated into rules and, more importantly, rules need to be guaranteed by a robust enforcement framework,” he tweeted.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton said Mr Johnson still had the “greatest confidence” in the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost.

However, she said that he remained “comfortable” that Britain would continue to thrive if it failed to get an agreement and was forced to move to dealing with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms.

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“The talks are right now ongoing and he has greatest confidence in David Frost and the team,” she told a briefing for Westminster reporters.

“He is optimistic but he has also always said that’s he is confident and comfortable that we would be okay without a deal.

“If a deal can be struck that is all to the good but he is also confident that we can move towards trading on what he calls Australia terms.”

While both sides have acknowledged that time is running out, there has been no sign that either is prepared to make a decisive move that could resolve the issue one way or the other.

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