Brexit news latest – Transition period MUST be extended as UK covid crisis demands 100% attention, Nicola Sturgeon warns

THE Sunday night deadline was ignored last night – as officials on both sides continue to slog out a trade agreement.

Both sides simply ignored loud warnings from the EU Parliament that a deal must be done by Sunday night or they would not rubber stamp it.

A “tortured” weekend of talks failed to break the deadlock over “unreasonable” demands from the EU for a further six years of access to UK waters for their fishermen.

And time is running out to reach a deal by December 31.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CONTINUED

    On December 19 the knackered Brits were refuelled on mince pies and mulled wine served up by the UK ambassador SIr Tim Barrow as it dawned on them that talks could run through next week.

    “A landing zone is there but it could take the rest of the year to get there” one UK source said last night.

    Another added: “we have made clear we can carry on talking past Christmas and wrap this up and get it through our Parliament in a day. So this has some road to go yet.”.

    Both the EU and the UK have been distracted by Covid again as talks reach their endgame, but Lord Frost and EU counterpart Michel Barnier plan to go toe to toe on fishing numbers again on Monday.

    on Saturday Michel Barnier repeated coded hints that the EU must be able to punish Brexit Britain if they become too competitive, tweeting enigmatically: “we should both be able to act when our interests are at stake.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    YULETIDE LOGJAM

    Weary British trade negotiators munched mince pies and glugged mulled wine last night amid fears they are stuck in Brussels for Christmas.

    Any Brexit deal is “still days away” the UK side warned yesterday amid continued deadlock over EU demands for SIX more years of fishing rights.

    Yet another breakthrough deadline was missed last night after both sides simply ignored loud warnings from the EU Parliament that a deal must be done by Sunday night or they would not rubber stamp it.

    A “tortured” weekend of talks failed to break the deadlock over “unreasonable” demands from the EU for a further six years of access to UK waters for their fishermen.

    That has been whittled down from a decade in snail paced haggling, but the UK has consistently rejected an offer from Brussels to cut their annual take by about a quarter.

    Britain has offered a three to four year phasing out and wants closer to 60 per cent of stock back in that time.

  • Ben Hill

    INDEPENDENCE RUMBLINGS

    If Brexit goes badly, it could give a boost to the governments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast — and stoke calls for greater powers.

    Scottish nationalists point out that they never wanted to leave the EU in the first place and might now try again to become an independent state and rejoin the bloc.

    "The pandemic is not going to help," John Springford, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform think-tank, told AFP.

    "So, with Brexit running into the mix, and a Conservative (UK) government that's very unpopular north of the border, I think the support for independence is likely to rise."

  • Ben Hill

    YULETIDE LOGJAM

    Weary British trade negotiators munched mince pies and glugged mulled wine last night amid fears they are stuck in Brussels for Christmas.

    Any Brexit deal is “still days away” the UK side warned yesterday amid continued deadlock over EU demands for SIX more years of fishing rights.

    Yet another breakthrough deadline was missed last night after both sides simply ignored loud warnings from the EU Parliament that a deal must be done by Sunday night or they would not rubber stamp it.

    A “tortured” weekend of talks failed to break the deadlock over “unreasonable” demands from the EU for a further six years of access to UK waters for their fishermen.

  • Ben Hill

    COOK'S CONCERNS

    Since James Cook, 64, took over Scottish seafood exporting businesses, D.R. Collin & Son in 1990, trucking seafood to France has been smooth and quick. But that is set to change when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.

    Extra paperwork and customs checks are expected to lengthen queues at Channel ports from January 1, slowing down the supply chain and putting the perishable cargo at risk.

    About 80 percent of the company's annual revenue of £56 million (61.4 million euros, $75 million) is earned in Europe.

    Without a post-Brexit free trade agreement with the European Union, seafood tariffs would drive up prices at the quayside, and force the firm to look elsewhere for business.

    But finding new markets prepared to pay a premium for Scottish shellfish is no simple task, says Cook, who complains that exporters' concerns have been ignored.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    NEGOTIATORS IGNORE LATEST DEADLINE

    Yet another breakthrough deadline was missed last night after both sides simply ignored loud warnings from the EU Parliament that a deal must be done by Sunday night or they would not rubber stamp it.

    A “tortured” weekend of talks failed to break the deadlock over “unreasonable” demands from the EU for a further six years of access to UK waters for their fishermen.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    GOVERNMENT SOURCE ON LATEST BREXIT DEVELOPMENTS

    A government source said: “We need to get any deal right and based on terms which respect what the British people voted for.

    “Unfortunately, the EU is still struggling to get the flexibility needed from its member states and continues to make demands that are incompatible with our independence.

    “We cannot accept a deal that doesn’t leave us in control of our own laws or waters.

    "We’re continuing to try every possible path to an agreement, but without a substantial shift from the Commission we will be leaving on World Trade Organisation terms on December 31.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    EU OFFICIALS 'DIGGING HEELS IN'

    The UK finally breaks off ties with the EU on December 31 when the transition ends and the PM ordered a “final roll of the dice” in a bid to break the deadlock.

    But EU officials are said to be still digging in their heels and even now refuse to accept that Britain will become an independent sovereign nation again within days.

  • Dan Keane

    PM TO HOLD MEETING AS EUROPE HAULTS UK FREIGHT

    Boris Johnson is to hold crisis talks with ministers after European countries halted flights and ferry crossing from the UK amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain.

    The PM will chair a meeting of the Government's Cobra civil contingencies committee tomorrow as the government seeks to ensure a "steady flow of freight into and out of the UK", Downing St said.

    The Port of Dover announced its ferry terminal was closing to all accompanied traffic leaving the UK due to French border restrictions while Eurotunnel said it would shut after the last shuttles left at 9.34pm on Sunday.

    Andrew Opie, the BRC's director of food and sustainability, said any "prolonged" disruption of traffic from France would be a problem in the run up to the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

    "While goods can enter from France, few haulage firms will be willing to send trucks and drivers across to the UK without a guarantee they can return to the EU in a timely manner," he said.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship.

    Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules were tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.

    The UK ended up leaving the EU on January 31 with a transition period until December 31 2020.

    While we did leave with a deal – in which this transition period was agreed – there is still the possibility of ending up in a no deal scenario still.

    If there is no arrangement for our future relationship by the end of this period then Britain will have left the EU with no deal and will trade on World Trade Organisation rules.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    BRUSSELS 'STILL STRUGGLING'

    Officials claimed the Brussels team was still “struggling” to budge an inch over key sticking points, with just 11 days until the transition period ends.

    Both teams are still slugging it out every day in the hope of finding a breakthrough after nine years of tense talks.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    TIME ALMOST UP

    Yesterday, the European Parliament repeated its call for a deal to be reached no later than this weekend, to give it time to properly ratify the agreement.

    It comes as Britainhas threatened to pull the plug on Brexit trade talks this week – and walk away without a deal.

    A source close to the negotiations said last night: “One way or another, it’ll all be over by Christmas.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    HANCOCK: EU MUST DROP ‘UNREASONABLE’ DEMANDS

    The EU must drop its “unreasonable” demands if it wishes to secure a deal, Matt Hancock has said.

    He told Sky News: "We want these talks to reach a positive conclusion, of course I want a deal, I think everybody wants a deal.

    "Unfortunately, the EU have put in some unreasonable demands … They do not respect the result of the referendum … I am sure a deal can be done but obviously it needs movement on the EU side."

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    EUROTUNNEL TO CLOSE

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    TRUCKERS NOT READY FOR NEW BREXIT RULES

    Nearly every trucker in Britain is unprepared for Brexit and has no idea how to negotiate new border rules, a poll says.

    The survey of hauliers reveals 96 per cent “are not ready” for January 1 — with one in four believing they have already lost business.

    According to the UK Hauliers Brexit Transition Deadline study, three in four firms believe the biggest change Brexit will bring will be increased waiting times at borders. Two thirds reckon they will have to spend more time on admin.

    The Hauliers Exchange poll also reveals that 84 per cent of firms are calling on the Government for more clarity on what changes they can expect at borders.

    Supply chain expert Sam Tyagi said: “It’s abundantly obvious that . . . there aren’t enough staff employed at UK borders to handle the increase in workload brought about by Brexit.

    “UK borders are short-handed to the tune of about 50,000 staff. There will also be an anticipated fivefold increase in customs entries leading to as many as 200million extra a year.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    AUSTRALIA-STYLE DEAL: CONTINUED

    • Australia also has an agreement on trading wine with the EU – sealed in 2008
    • The pair have pacts on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and scientific cooperation
    • No Deal Brexit would mean cutting all other ties with the bloc – as we haven't yet agreed any side deals
    • Today the EU proposed a set of agreements to keep planes flying, transport flowing, and for them to continue to have access to our fishing waters

    AUSTRALIA-STYLE DEAL: EXPLAINED

    • An Australian-style deal means leaving the EU without an agreement with the bloc in place
    • Essentially, Australia don't have an agreement with the union, and trades with them on World Trade Organisation terms
    • It means that both countries charge import and export tariffs on trading goods – which can push up the price of some items
    • But they do have a series of side deals in place – agreeing to cooperate on a range of issues including trade, foreign policy, security, and humanitarian issues
    • They also work together to allow Australia to take part in EU crisis management operations, on sharing passenger name records to fight crime and classified information, and to mutually recognise each other's qualifications

    'IT WILL ALL BE OVER BY CHRISTMAS'

    Brexit sources say that talks will come to an end this month – regardless of whether a deal is reach.

    The UK and EU have got just 10 days left to come to a trade agreement.

    A source close to the negotiations said last night: “One way or another, it’ll all be over by Christmas.”

    NO DEAL BEFORE XMAS?

    Britain has threatened to pull the plug on Brexit trade talks this week – and walk away without a deal.

    A source close to the negotiations said last night: “One way or another, it’ll all be over by Christmas.”

    Officials claimed the Brussels team was still “struggling” to budge an inch over key sticking points, with just 11 days until the transition period ends.

    WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship.

    Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules were tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.

    The UK ended up leaving the EU on January 31 with a transition period until December 31 2020.

    While we did leave with a deal – in which this transition period was agreed – there is still the possibility of ending up in a no deal scenario still.

    If there is no arrangement for our future relationship by the end of this period then Britain will have left the EU with no deal and will trade on World Trade Organisation rules.

    IRELAND TO IMPOSE TRAVEL BAN TO UK

    Ireland is expected to impose 48-hour travel ban on non-essential travel from Britain from midnight after the UK ramped up coronavirus restrictions over a new variant of coronavirus believed to be driving up cases.

    The ban is expected to apply to both flights and ferries. 

    No ban or restrictions are expected to apply to travel between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

    Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria have issued suspensions on flights in and out of Britain. 

    • Claudia Aoraha

      WE MUST RESPECT EU'S SOVEREIGNTY

      Michel Barnier has warned that Britain must be prepared to respect the EU's sovereignty if talks on a post-Brexit trade deal are to succeed.

      Brussels chief negotiator said the EU remained committed to achieving "a fair, reciprocal and balanced agreement" but said both sides needed to be able to act when their interests were at stake.

      His comments came after a UK Government source warned that the negotiations would fail unless there was a "substantial shift" in the EU's position in the remaining days of the talks.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      BARNIER SAYS THIS IS 'CRUCIAL MOMENT'

      The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier tweeted: "In this crucial moment for the negotiations, we continue to work hard with @DavidGHFrost and his team.

      "The EU remains committed to a fair, reciprocal & balanced agreement. We respect the sovereignty of the UK. And we expect the same.

      "Both EU & UK must have the right to set their own laws & control their own waters. And we should both be able to act when our interests are at stake."

    • Claudia Aoraha

      SPANISH MINISTER CALLS FOR TRAVEL BANS FROM UK

      Spain’s foreign minister has called on the EU to launch a coordinated response to limit travel from the UK, following actions from Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Vienna.

      Arnacha González tweeted that the objective of the response would be to “protect the rights of community citizens”.

      She added: “Spanish Government awaits the rapid response of the European institutions, but anticipates that if there were not, it would act in defence of the interests and rights of Spanish citizens.”

    • Claudia Aoraha

      EU FIGURES DISCUSS TRAVEL BANS

      Some of the key names in the Brexit debate have held a phone call this afternoon – but it seems the focus of the conversation was the UK's new mutant strain of coronavirus. 

      Angela Merkel, Emmanual Macron, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel were on the call, according to AFP. 

      It seems likely more travel bans will be imposed on the UK, following the ones from Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. 

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