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Brexit: PM says deal ‘still there to be done’ ahead of crunch trip


Boris Johnson has said the EU is insisting on terms “no prime minister could accept” in UK-EU trade talks.


The PM told MPs “a good deal is still there to be done”, ahead of post-Brexit deal negotiations with the European Commission president.


But he said the EU was seeking an “automatic right” to retaliate against the UK if its labour and environmental standards diverged from theirs.


He is in Brussels for talks with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.


The prime minister also suggested the EU could not accept the UK having sovereign control over its fishing waters after Brexit, as he answered questions at Prime Minister’s Questions.


Time is running out to reach a deal before 31 December, when the UK stops following EU trading rules.


Major disagreements remain on fishing rights, business competition rules and how a deal will be policed.


At the dinner, expected to begin at 19:00 GMT, the prime minister will work through a list of the major sticking points with Mrs von der Leyen, who is representing the leaders of the 27 EU nations.


A UK government source said progress at a political level may allow the UK’s negotiator Lord Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier – who will both also attend the dinner – to resume their work over the coming days.


But the source added that it was important to be “realistic” that an agreement might not be possible.


Meanwhile, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove outlined details on post-Brexit border checks and trading rules for Northern Ireland, after agreement was reached with the EU.


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