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Brexit

Johnson calls halt to trade talks with Brussels

Downing Street

By Gavin Cordon, Harriet Line and Patrick Daly, PA Political Staff

Boris Johnson has called a halt to talks with Brussels on a post-Brexit free trade agreement, warning Britain to prepare for a final no-deal break with the European Union.

In a statement to broadcasters, the Prime Minister accused EU leaders of seeking to impose a series of “unacceptable” demands and called for a “fundamental change of approach” if there was to be any agreement.

The immediate response from European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was to say that the EU would carry on negotiating, with talks next week in London going ahead as planned.

However, at a briefing for journalists in Westminster, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the negotiations were now “over”.

He said there was “no point” in the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier travelling to the UK unless the EU changed its negotiating position.

“The trade talks are over. The EU have effectively ended them by saying that they do not want to change their negotiating position,” the spokesman said.

“There is only any point in Michel Barnier coming to London next week if he is prepared to discuss all of the issues on the basis of legal texts in an accelerated way, without the UK being required to make all of the moves.

“Or he is willing to discuss the practicalities of areas such as travel and haulage, which the PM mentioned in his statement. If not, there is no point in coming.”