LONDON: The UK government “will do everything to secure a deal” on post-Brexit trade with the EU, says Michael Gove. The cabinet minister said MPs would be called back from their Christmas break to approve a deal if one was agreed.
Negotiations are continuing in Brussels on Thursday, with just two weeks left before the transition period ends. The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Wednesday a “narrow path” has opened up for the two sides to conclude a deal, BBC has reported.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said he still viewed no deal as “the most likely outcome”.The UK left the EU on 31 January, but has remained under many of its rules while the two sides negotiate a trade deal.
If an agreement is not reached by 31 December, the UK will have to trade with the EU on World Trade Organization rules – meaning taxes on goods being bought and sold between the two may be introduced, and could lead to higher prices.
Asked about the progress of negotiations in the Commons, Mr Gove said “intensive talks” were continuing, with “both teams working day and night” to “go the extra mile” in seeking agreement.
Pushed by his Conservative colleague Dehenna Davison on whether the UK would walk away if a trade deal was not “in the best interests of our country”, Mr Gove replied: “My honourable friend is absolutely right.”
He added: “Even if sometimes results are coming later than we might have wanted, I know we will be doing everything in order to secure a good free trade agreement in the interest of the whole United Kingdom. The electors… were clear when they voted to leave the European Union, that we need to do so by 31 December 31, and we will.”