Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold emergency talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday following the European Union launching legal action as the UK Government refuses to back down over the Internal Market Bill. Downing Street said the two leaders will take stock on the progress made so far in post-Brexit trade negotiations and discuss the “next steps” following the conclusion of the final formal round of talks in Brussels on Friday. Mr Johnson has warned he is prepared to walk away from the negotiations if there is no agreement by the time of the next European Council summit on October 15.
Chief negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier met in the Belgian capital this week and although it is believed some progress was made, fisheries and state aid remain significant stumbling blocks in the talks.
Now Express.co.uk readers have overwhelmingly told the Prime Minister not to sacrifice either of those crucial red lines in order to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
The latest poll, which ran from 10.30am until 9pm on Friday, October 2, asked: “What should Boris Johnson sacrifice to secure a trade deal with EU?”
A huge 95 percent of the 12,182 people who voted said Mr Johnson should not sacrifice anything to secure a trade deal with the EU as the deadline to reach an agreement quickly approaches.
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Brexit news: The Prime Minister and European Commission President will hold talks on Saturday
Just three percent said state aid should be sacrificed, while the remaining two percent opted for fisheries. Less than one percent were undecided.
Responding to the poll, one Express.co.uk reader said: “Just walk away and give them nothing. That is what we voted for. Nobody voted for a deal.”
A second person wrote: “We should leave immediately. They find it difficult to help the ones that helped them out before.
“We can trade with the rest of the world now. A break away would do us good. Then we would all see who needs who.”
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Brexit news: Boris Johnson was overwhelmingly backed to not sacrifice anything in a trade deal with the EU
Another Express.co.uk reader raged: “We won’t and should not bow down to their time limits and what’s in it for them deals.
“We’ve left the EU. If anything, they owe us billions look at the money they’ve squeezed out of us, for inconsequential needs etc. Like it or lump it!”
One person simply said: “The only thing we should give them is a no deal and leave completely.”
Ahead of the video-conference call with Ms von der Leyen on Saturday, Mr Johnson urged the EU to be “common-sensical”, insisting that a post-Brexit trade deal was within grasp.
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Boris Johnson urged the EU to be ‘common-sensical’
The Prime Minister insisted there was “every chance” an agreement could be reached while the European Commission President warned it was time to “intensify” the negotiations.
The surprise announcement of the talks between the pair has prompted speculation they could be preparing to launch a final series of intensive talks – dubbed “the tunnel” – in a last push for an agreement.
Mr Johnson said: “It’s up to our friends and partners to be common-sensical.
“They’ve done a deal with Canada of a kind that we want, why shouldn’t they do it with us?
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“We’re so near, we’ve been members for 45 years. It’s all there, it’s just up to them.”
Like the Prime Minister, EU chief Ms von der Leyen believes a deal is possible between the two sides but warned time was running out.
She added the “most difficult issues” – including fisheries and state aid rules – still had to be resolved in order to come to terms on a deal before the end of the transition period on December 31.
Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, Ms von der Leyen said: “It is good to have a deal – but not at any price.
Brexit news: Ursula von der Leyen said a deal is possible, ‘but not at any price’
“We have made progress on many, many different fields but of course the most difficult ones are still completely open.
“But overall, where there is a will, there is a way, so I think we should intensify the negotiations because it is worth working hard on it.
“We are running out of time – around 100 days to the end of the year – so it is worth stepping up now.”