Brexit news: Boris Johnson REFUSES to ‘water down’ demands in last push to secure deal

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The Prime Minister is expected to speak to the European Commission President Ursula von de Leyen to edge closer to a deal which both sides have now said is possible. However, Mr Johnson will not “water down” any of his demands to secure a deal. It comes after confidential documents were leaked over the weekend which reportedly revealed that EU officials believe a Brexit deal is “95 percent agreed”.

According to Sky News, the notes were from a meeting of top diplomats in Brussels on Friday.

However, the documents are said to show that anxiety still remains in the three level playing field areas – fisheries, governance and competition rules.

EU leaders set a deadline for all remaining disagreements to be resolved by Tuesday next week, giving the two sides eight days to finalise an agreement.

Negotiations were halted last week after a member of the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier’s team tested positive for the coronavirus.

Face to face talks between Mr Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost were suspended.

Mr Barnier, who is now in isolation, revealed the news on Twitter.

He wrote: “One of the negotiators on my team has tested positive for Covid-19. With David Frost, we have decided to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period.”

A source close to the negotiations told the Telegraph that the forced break was actually a blessing in disguise.

They said it gave the exhausted teams on both sides time to “pause and reflect” on how they could overcome the disagreements in trade talks.

Face-to-face negotiations are expected to restart on Thursday before Tuesday’s deadline next week.

A source on the UK side of negotiations told the Telegraph that both sides believe they will achieve a deal in time.

They said: “Both sides seem to think we will get there, but nothing is certain and Boris Johnson will not water down his demands in order to get a deal.

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“The negotiators are nearly there on an awful lot of things, but the areas of disagreement – state aid in particular – cuts across a lot of other areas.

“We are not in the final moments yet but this week will see the start of the final push.

“I would expect that at some point this week the Prime Minister or Ursula von der Leyen will have to make an intervention.”

On Sunday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said progress is continuing to be made in Brexit talks.

He told BBC’s Andrew Marr: “I think we’re making progress in the talks and I remain hopeful that we can reach resolution.

“I think we’re being entirely reasonable with our requests and have been consistent and transparent through this process about what’s important to us.

“Hopefully we can find a constructive place but I’m very confident about the British economy in all circumstances when I think longer term.”

Mr Sunak also insisted there would not be a trade deal “at any price” and said tthe coronavirus would have a greater impact on the economy than a no-trade deal Brexit.

He said: “I’d agree with what the Prime Minister has said, that in the short term specifically and most immediately it would be preferable to have a deal because it would ease things in the short term.

“But we should not be going for a deal at any price.”

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