Brexit talks

Johnson: EU must ‘change position substantially’

Boris Johnson says EU is being ‘unreasonable’ (pic: Downing St)

Boris Johnson was again playing hard ball on the Brexit negotiations tonight, warning that there would be no deal unless the EU position “changed substantially”.

The Prime Minister said the EU continued to make “unreasonable” demands over fishing rights and in a 7pm phone call he warned EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, that the talks were in a “serious situation”.

Downing Street insisted that if agreement could not be reached the UK would be leaving the EU “as friends”, but trading on Australia-style terms.

However, a more conciliatory tone was struck by Ms von der Leyenwho said “substantial progress” had been made on a Brexit deal, even though “big differences” remain that will be “challenging to bridge”.

Mr Johnson is said to be keen to compromise on the EU’s requests for assurances that the UK will not undercut businesses on the continent by rolling out lower environmental standards and regulations – the level playing field.

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