Friday, 5 Mar 2021

Boris Johnson to bypass Brexit transition end to secure trade deal ‘lots of fudge room’

Brexit: Expert says there is 'a lot of fudge room' in negotiations

There has been “good progress” in talks on a post-Brexit trade deal but the “last stumbling blocks remain”, Michel Barnier said. The European Union’s lead negotiator has been holding talks with the UK team led by Lord Frost in an effort to reach a last-minute deal before the current arrangements expire at the end of the year. CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer claimed the “mood music” is good and the Government could be voting on a Brexit deal next week.

Ms Palmer said: “There’s a small possibility that they could say, ‘Let’s have a little bridging agreement and we’ll pretend that we’ve got an agreement’.

“There’s a lot of fudge room if they want it.

“It will really depend on what political leaders need to say to their own people to look as if they’ve stood up for them.

“As I say, the mood music is good and we may see the British Parliament actually voting on a deal next week.

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“I know the MPs are ready to sit. They should be on Christmas break but they’ve been told it’s likely they’re going to have to come back to the house next week which is another sign that something’s within reach.”

A recall of Parliament will be sought over the festive period if a Brexit deal needs to be approved, Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed.

The Commons Leader announced no business is currently scheduled for the House of Commons in the week beginning December 21.

But he told MPs: “Subject to the House’s decision later, we will rise for the Christmas recess at the close of business today but MPs will recognise that talks with the European Union continue.

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“Should a deal be secured, it is the Government’s intention to request a recall in order that Parliament may pass the necessary legislation.

“Parliament has and continues to do its duty, and has long shown it can act quickly and decisively when needed.

“I’m sure the whole House will agree the country would expect nothing less.”

Labour’s Hilary Benn, chairman of the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, on Thursday asked if the required legislation will pass all of the parliamentary stages by December 31 in order to provide clarity to businesses about what they can do from January 1 next year.

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Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove replied: “If it is the case the negotiations are concluded satisfactorily then we will request that the House returns in order to make sure that we can legislate effectively, and we believe we can pass the necessary legislation before December 31 to give businesses legal certainty for the future.”

Mr Gove also said the UK is “going the extra mile” in continuing talks with the EU to see if a deal on future arrangements can be reached.

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz criticised Mr Rees-Mogg for “speculating” about when Parliament would rise for the Christmas recess.

She said: “Normally we have advance sight of the business statement, that’s the usual thing, but now I’m not going to thank (Mr Rees-Mogg) for the advance speculation of when we are going to rise because that’s absolutely a ridiculous way to do business.”

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