No deal Brexit looms as Business Minister admits EU talks still at ‘difficult’ stage

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Brexit talks have resumed once again, but the threat of a no deal outcome is still present. Alok Sharma has admitted that “a number of tricky issues still have to be resolved” before a final agreement. The Business Secretary told BBC Breakfast that the Government would need the EU to “recognise that the UK is a sovereign and independent nation” in order for negotiations to succeed.

He said: “We are committed to reaching an agreement with the EU on this particular discussion that we’re having.

“But, of course, time is short and we’re in a difficult phase, there’s no denying that.

“There are a number of tricky issues that still have to be resolved.

“But there is a fundamental point that I want to make clear to your viewers, that we have said, all along, right from the start of these negotiations.”

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Mr Sharma continued: “We want the EU to recognise that the UK is a sovereign and independent nation.

“It is on the basis of that that a deal will be done.

“It is tricky but we are working hard in good faith.

“David Frost and his team are working incredibly hard, so let’s see where we get to.”

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Time pressures have been placed on proceedings not only because of the transition period deadline at the end of the month, but important events next week.

EU leaders will be meeting at a summit in the hopes of signing off an agreement.

Additionally the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill will return to Parliament at the same time.

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Confidential diplomatic notes suggest that EU officials think a Brexit deal is 95 percent agreed.

However, there are concerns that there may not be enough time to ratify the deal.

One solution suggested by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen would be “provisional application”.

This would mean that if a deal is agreed at the last minute, it can be put in place before it’s even ratified.

The option is viewed as a “very precarious” resolution.

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