2020-12-09 14:15:15

Boris Johnson has accused the EU of offering Brexit terms that no prime minister could accept, just hours before he travels to Brussels for last-minute trade talks with the head of the bloc’s executive, Ursula von der Leyen.

“Our friends in the EU are currently insisting that if they pass a new law in the future with which we in this country do not comply… then they want the automatic right… to punish us and to retaliate,” Johnson told MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Secondly, they are saying that the UK should be the only country in the world not to have sovereign control over its fishing waters. And I don’t believe that those are terms that any prime minister of this country should accept.

Although fishing is a small part of both the UK and the EU economies, the issue has consistently been a stumbling block in the Brexit negotiations. The EU is seeking to retain its current access to and use of British waters even after the country leaves the bloc, whereas the UK wants to hold annual talks with Brussels to determine fishing quotas, an idea the EU has been resisting. 

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Johnson added that “a good deal is there to be done” with the EU, despite the current deadlock, while Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said on Tuesday that he still saw “scope for compromise” between the two sides.

The British PM will jet into Brussels later on Wednesday for dinner with von der Leyen, as the pair discuss fishing rights, fair competition rules, and dispute resolution in a final effort to secure a deal.

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