Brexit: UK ‘ready to be flexible’ to strike a trade deal in July
The UK is “ready to be flexible” in post-Brexit trade negotiations with the EU in an attempt to secure a deal by next month, according to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.
Gove, the defacto Brexit minister, told MPs today that there was enough time to “bring a deal home” before the 31 December deadline, despite the ongoing stalemate.
Boris Johnson met with EU chiefs yesterday to discuss the future trajectory of trade negotiations.
A joint statement was released to say the UK and EU agreed that talks needed “fresh momentum” if a deal was to be struck.
Johnson said shortly after the meeting that both sides needed to “put a tiger in the tank” and add “a bit of oomph in the negotiations”.
Gove addressed the House of Commons today to emphasise the Prime Minister’s message, while also restating the government’s position in negotiations.
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UK negotiators have said that they will decide before the end of summer whether it is worth continuing in talks or to instead walk away and prepare to leave the transition period on no-deal terms.
“We’re ready to be flexible about how we secure a free trade agreement that works for both sides,” Gove said.
“The UK however has been clear throughout that the new relationship we seek with the EU must fully reflect our regained independence, sovereignty and autonomy. One thing we cannot do is accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
“The UK’s political will is there, our position is reasonable, based on precedent, and we still have the time to bring a deal home.”
Fishing policy is one of the major flashpoints in talks, with EU member states pushing to retain the same access to UK fishing waters as they had when Britain was in the EU.
Chief UK negotiator Frost has described this as a “non runner” and is asking for a zonal attachment agreement, which can be periodically reviewed.
The Times reported today that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier was preparing to back down on fishing access to UK waters.
Barnier reportedly is prepared to accept a zonal attachment agreement, which will mean EU boats will not have automatic rights to UK fishing waters.