Fresh turmoil in Brexit trade deal negotiations as deadline looms

Fresh turmoil in Brexit trade deal negotiations as deadline looms

In a shock move, new legislation would override legal agreements with Brussels on using state aid and requiring customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea.

But the Financial Times newspaper cited three people as saying the proposed internal market bill was expected to "eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement" in areas including state aid and Northern Ireland customs.

The already-concluded withdrawal agreement, which allowed the United Kingdom to leave at the end of last January, includes the Northern Ireland protocol, Mr Varadkar said.

Britain left the European Union on January 31 but talks on a new trade deal before the end of a status-quo transition arrangement in December have snagged on state aid rules and fishing.

If the sticking point of fisheries and state aid can not be resolved and a deal agreed, Britain would have a trading relationship with the bloc like Australia's, which would be "a good outcome", Johnson said.

Investors are refocusing on Brexit with the two sides accepting they need to reach a deal by October in order to pave the way for a smooth exit at the end of the year, when the Brexit transition period ends.

Both sides have downplayed the chances of a deal, though some of that rhetoric is muscle-flexing before crucial weeks of talks.

Mr Johnson said the country would "prosper mightily" under a no-deal Brexit.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood says such a move would shred the British Government's global credibility and could see the return of a hard border in Ireland.

In comments apparently at odds with his leader's stance, Mr Wilson said the deal that contains the contentious Northern Ireland protocol must be "scrapped" or at least significantly changed.

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"I remain anxious", Barnier said of the negotiations, adding that Johnson's government wanted "the best of two worlds".

There were "really only two bones of contention left", he said, adding though that no compromise was possible on a "straightforward point of principle", meaning that an internal row over the extent of subsidies needed for Boris Johnson's economic initiatives is further contributing to the UK's firm stance on not giving in to the European Union in Brexit talks.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the move would constitute a repudiation by the government of a treaty "freely negotiated by it" and which was described as "oven ready" by Johnson.

"There is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point", Johnson said in a statement.

"The EU must also realize that we are serious about leaving with an Australian-style trading relationship and reclaiming our independence as a sovereign nation if we can not find acceptable terms", he said.

He told French radio that honouring Withdrawal Agreement was "a pre-condition for confidence between us because everything that has been signed in the past must be respected".

"Instead of taking Northern Ireland hostage again, it would be better that you keep your word and stand by the Withdrawal Agreement".

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said the reported development would be "a very unwise way to proceed".

Grey says the eighth round of formal negotiations begin on Wednesday (New Zealand time), which will be the final ones.

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