Politics

Brexit LIVE: Truss handed ultimatum on Australia trade deal – Minister threatens to resign

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Ms Truss has been locked in talks over a trade deal with the state but a row has sparked over the prospect of a free trade, no quota deal. Although the Trade Secretary wants to hand Australia a free-trade deal, Environment Secretary George Eustice has warned of the domestic backlash from UK farmers if there are no limits to the deal. Mr Eustice fears UK farmers will be undercut by a wave of Australian meat imports which may flood the market under a free trade deal. 

Times Radio’s Tom Newton Dunn reports the Environment Secretary has now come up with a plan to end the standoff which “conjures up the prospect of resignation”. 

He reports, Mr Eustice insists on a zero-tariff deal but not a zero quota one in order to limit the amount of Australian meat imports which enter the country. 

Mr Newton Dunn said: “Eustice, who wants to protect UK farmers from being under cut, will tell Liz Truss he will accept zero tariffs but not zero quotas.

“Instead, flashpoint Australian imports, such as beef and lamb, must have annual caps.”

Australia would then be forced to adhere to limits on beef or lamb or the UK will not agree a deal. 

One insider said: “They’ve defended their interests well. We just need to do the same for ours.”

Ms Truss has proposed a 10-year transition period for UK farmers although there is fear this would “kick the can down the road” while the US, Mexico and Brazil would also need to be offered a zero-tariff deal, which would flood the market. 

Cabinet ministers will meet on Thursday to discuss the issue before the Prime Minister is called in. 

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7.27am update: Liz Truss issued an ultimatum over the Australia trade deal 

According to the Times Radio’s Tom Newton Dunn, Liz Truss has been issued an ultimatum over her plans to sign a post-Brexit deal with Australia. 

Amid a row over the deal, Environment Secretary George Eustice has warned the deal must have a quota limit on Australian meat imports. 

There is the possibility the minister may even resign over the issue amid the domestic backlash of allowing a wave of meat imports from the country. 

Mr Eustice does have the backing of some within Cabinet who fear it may spark separatist feelings in Scotland and Wales. 

Ms Truss had offered the proposition of a 10-year transition period to ease the pain on farmers. 

Some in Cabinet, however, warned this would only delay the issue. 

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