Brexit talks are at a “very difficult point”, Downing Street has admitted, with Boris Johnson’s spokesman telling reporters time is running out if a deal is to be agreed.
The spokesman said “time is in very short supply and we are at a very difficult point in the talks”, before adding: “What is certain is that we will not be able to agree a deal which doesn’t respect our fundamental principles on sovereignty and taking back control.”
It comes after an EU official said on Friday that a trade deal was “imminent” and could be expected this weekend despite reports that both sides were appearing to harden their stance after negotiations went on until 11pm on Thursday.
As wary France threatened to veto a bad deal, European Council president Charles Michel said the UK had “choices to make” over the final stalling points, while British ministers again insisted the EU must recognise UK’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, with just days left to secure a deal and tensions already high in Brussels, Mr Johnson’s government announced it will bring two bills in possible violation of the Brexit withdrawal agreement before the Commons next week, which it claims is necessary to prevent a border in the Irish Sea. Michel Barnier has reportedly told EU envoys such a breach of trust would plunge the talks into irreparable “crisis”.