Final push

Brexit talks drag on as Cabinet prepares for No Deal

Ursula Von Der Leyen spoke with Boris Johnson

Lord Frost and Michel Barnier will make attempt to resolve remaining differences in the Brexit negotiations today, amid the growing prospect of no agreement being reached.

British sources have warned that this is “the final throw of the dice” and the process may still conclude without an agreement with the Cabinet ready to back a No Deal Brexit.

Thirteen Cabinet ministers – including eight remainers – are said to be supporting Mr Johnson walking away without a deal.

There is talk of Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation announcing there is No Deal and putting the blame squarely on the EU which has made fresh demands on fishing rights.

Today’s meeting follows an hour-long call on Saturday between Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in which they agreed on a final push to get an agreement.

In a joint statement following their discussion, Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen said that while “progress has been achieved in many areas… significant differences remain on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries”.

“We agreed that a further effort should be undertaken by our negotiating teams to assess whether they can be resolved”.

“No agreement is feasible if these issues are not resolved,” they said after speaking for more than an hour on Saturday. “We are therefore instructing our chief negotiators to reconvene tomorrow in Brussels. We will speak again on Monday evening.”

Sources from both sides said that French demands over fishing rights in British waters remained a key issue.

Businesses are becoming increasingly frustrated, not least by an advertising campaign urging them to be prepared when there is no clear indication over regulations that will apply from 1 January.

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