PM dimisses olive branch

Johnson rejects Barnier offer to resume Brexit talks

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier: offered talks on all subjects

Boris Johnson has dismissed an offer from the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to hold further talks.

Mr Barnier is understood to have made an offer to meet some of the Prime Minister’s concerns in a telephone conversation with his British counterpart Lord Frost.  

These concerns focus on Mr Johnson’s demand for discussion on “all subjects”.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove immediately welcomed what he described as a “constructive move” to break the deadlock and told MPs in the Commons that “it is the case that Michel Barnier has agreed both to the intensification of talks but also to working on legal texts.”

He said it was “a reflection of the strength and resolution that our prime minister showed in stark contrast to the approach that the opposition has often enjoined us of simply accepting what the EU want at every stage.”

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But Downing Street continued to insist that the offer from Mr Barnier provided “no basis to resume talks”.

Mr Barnier had already been told on Friday not to come to London as planned because there would be “no point”.

A Downing Street spokesman told reporters: “The UK has noted the EU’s proposal to genuinely intensify talks, which is what would be expected at this stage in a negotiation.

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