The prospect of a no deal Brexit looks as likely as ever as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempts to override the withdrawal agreement angers Brussels. The Internal Market Bill passed through Parliament yesterday, risking further fury from those in the EU. The move has frustrated the EU as Northern Ireland Secretary Brandown Lewis admitted the bill could result in international law being broken. The bloc’s negotiator Mr Barnier has also held out on his own demands as trade talks stall.
Brussels has demanded access to UK fishing waters, threatening to deny London access to European markets if the request isn’t met.
Mr Barnier even taunted the UK earlier this month, saying it could control its waters but not the fish.
He said the UK “will recover the full sovereignty” of its waters when the transition period is over.
But he said that “speaking about the fish which are inside those waters” is “another story”.
Both the UK and the EU have refused to budge on their demands, but Mr Barnier confessed that Brussels could grant concessions late on in negotiations.
He said in June: “Agreements of this type, such important agreements, are always agreed at the last minute, if there is agreement.
“We’re going to need the coming three of four months, even if we work more intensively in July, August and September, we’re going to go right up to the line in October to find an agreement.
“This means negotiations will need now some extra political momentum. I’ve hoped that the British side will be given full leeway to negotiate on their side.
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This resulted in a furious response.
A UK source hit back, saying: “Barnier’s speech is a deliberate and misleading caricature of our proposals aimed at deflecting scrutiny from the EU’s own positions which are wholly unrealistic and unprecedented.
“We have been consistently clear that we are seeking a relationship that respects our sovereignty and which has a free trade agreement at its core, similar to those the EU has already agreed with like minded countries.”
Mr Barnier warned there would be a “huge difference” between striking a trade deal and a no deal exit at the end of the transition period on December 31.
He said: “Sometimes I listen to the UK speaking on the chance of no deal, the reporting of no deal.
“Good luck. Good luck. But frankly speaking there is no reason to underestimate the consequences for many people.”