Politics

‘Bang on!’ Gove tells Barnier UK will not back down on fishing in Brexit trade talks row

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The UK will “not compromise in any way” on fishing waters, borders and laws in securing a Brexit deal, Michael Gove has confirmed. The Cabinet minister was responding to concerns from Conservative MP Marco Longhi about the content of a trade agreement with the EU. With the transition period deadline fast approaching, time is running out for both sides.

In the House of Commons, Mr Longhi asked about the potential arrangements of the deal.

He said: “Can you reassure me and my Dudley North constituents that should we strike a trade agreement with the EU, that we will not compromise in any way on our fishing waters, our borders and our laws?

“And, most importantly, that any governance arrangements that may flow from any trade agreement are completely consistent with those of a fully sovereign country.”

Mr Gove simply responded: “My honourable friend is bang on!”

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Boris Johnson is due to travel to Brussels today to meet face-to-face with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The Prime Minister is hoping to make a breakthrough in trade negotiations with the EU.

Earlier this week he and Mrs von der Leyen spoke about the status of the talks via phone call.

They agreed that the conditions for an agreement are not there due to remaining differences on critical issues.

Brexit: Gove says there’s ‘scope for compromise’ on fishing

The outstanding issues remain fishing, competition and governance.

The EU is seeking maximum access to British waters while the UK reportedly wants to change the way its fish stocks are allocated and taper off EU catches over several years.

On the level playing field, the EU is requesting Britain sticks closely to union rules in order to avoid competition, while the UK Government wants to assert its sovereignty.

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The question of governance is over how any future disputes will be settled.

While Mr Johnson is loathed to allow the words ‘European Court of Justice’ to appear anywhere in the deal, the EU is adamant the body must have a role in resolving matters of Union law.

Though these all remain contentious, Mr Gove has confirmed a mark of progress.

The minister announced that the UK and EU have reached an “agreement in principle” on all issues in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.

The British Government have also said that they will be withdrawing the controversial clauses form the Internal Market Bill that sought to override parts of the withdrawal agreement.

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