Brexit LIVE: Boris Johnson hands Barnier simple choice – drop state aid demands or no deal

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The UK and EU remain deadlocked in post-Brexit trade talks – more than five months after they started – as they both refuse to give ground in a number of areas and repeatedly blame each other for the current stalemate in negotiations. Mr Barnier last month set a deadline for a deal to be struck by October 31 for it to be ratified by the European Parliament in time for the transition period deadline on December 31, fears of a no deal Brexit are increasing by the day. Now Downing Street has issued one of its biggest warnings yet over a Brexit deal, stating that while it is still possible to agree, “it is clear that will not be easy to achieve”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We will continue to work hard to reach an agreement and look forward to the next round (of talks) next week.

“We believe an agreement is still possible and it is still our goal but it is clear that will not be easy to achieve.”

When asked if there was now a possibility the transition period could be extended beyond this year – which Mr Johnson has repeatedly refused – the spokesman insisted: No.

“I think the EU continues to insist that we must agree on difficult areas in the negotiations, such as EU state aid, before any further work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts… that makes it very difficult to make progress.

“We would instead like to settle the simplest issues first in order to build momentum in the talks as time is short for both sides.”

Mr Barnier travelled to London on Tuesday for further informal Brexit talks with UK negotiating counterpart David Frost.

The eighth round of formal negotiations begins next week, with pressure on both sides to give ground on one of a number of red lines in order for a crucial breakthrough to be made.


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