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No10 hit back at Michel Barnier’s claims that the UK had caved to EU demands on fisheries, insisting the opposite had happened. According to Channel 4 News’ Gary Gibbon, the British Government is celebrating EU compromises on fisheries and the deadlocked Brexit trade talks. This comes after claims the UK has made a “tentative, modest” compromise on fisheries.
Reuters had reported this week that Downing Street was “moving cautiously towards some opening on fisheries in the technical talks”.
Gary Gibbon echoed this in his report, saying: “Michel Barnier was talking to EU ambassadors in Brussels tonight in a private meeting.
“He told them that there had been movement on Britain’s part, not least on fisheries, in last week’s negotiations.”
But, he went on to explain that British officials had claimed instead that it was the EU who gave way in the talks last week, thanks to Boris Johnson’s “Rambo-style tactics”.
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Gibbon said: “The Government here is saying there is movement from Europe.
“They suggest that is thanks to their Rambo-style tactics, but the EU has warned that the Rambo tactics could destabilise the whole thing eventually.”
This is in reference to the controversy over the Government’s plans to override parts of the UK’s Brexit agreement.
Boris Johnson avoided a growing Tory rebellion last night after he reached a deal with some of the Tory MPs unhappy with the Internal Market Bill.
Mr Johnson has agreed to amend the controversial bill, giving MPs a vote before he could use the powers in it that would break international law.
However, the Prime Minister defended the bill during an appearance before a committee of senior MPs on Wednesday, saying he believed the EU may not be negotiating with the UK in good faith over the withdrawal agreement’s implementation.
Questioned by Labour’s Hilary Benn on whether he thought the EU was negotiating in good faith, he said: “I don’t believe they are.”
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The bill had triggered a severe backlash from the EU, which has threatened legal action if it is not withdrawn.
The EU has has also said it will break off trade talks if the bill is not scrapped within the month.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs yesterday that the UK’s chances of securing a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU are beginning to fade.
The European Commission President said during a major speech to the European Parliament that “with every day that passes, the chances of a timely agreement do start to fade”.
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