Surprise, surprise... talks about the Irish backstop fail
- Credit: PA
The latest talks aimed at breaking the Brexit deadlock over the Northern Ireland backstop have failed to achieve a breakthrough, the European Commission has said.
The commission said there was still 'no solution' to the impasse after the meeting in Brussels between the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and attorney general Geoffrey Cox and Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay.
The meeting took place as Theresa May prepared for next week's crunch 'meaningful vote' in the Commons on her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
The prime minister has said she wants legally binding changes to the backstop - intended to prevent the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland - to ensure the UK is not tied to EU rules indefinitely, in order to convince MPs to back her deal.
However, Barnier told the weekly meeting of the College of Commissioners in Brussels that the negotiations were proving 'difficult' and a way forward had not been found.
You may also want to watch:
The commission's chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters: 'Michel Barnier was present and informed the commissioners that while the talks take place in a constructive atmosphere, discussions have been difficult.
'No solution has been identified at this point that is consistent with the Withdrawal Agreement, including the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland which, as you all know, will not be reopened.'
- 1 Tory MP blames 'chaotic parents' for children going to school hungry
- 2 Boris Johnson 'hid in bedroom' to avoid grilling on Brexit stance days before becoming PM
- 3 Danny Dyer praised for criticisms of Tory party - pointing out Etonians can't run the country
- 4 George Osborne says it is 'game over' for Boris Johnson over free school meals
- 5 UKIP set to select 'Dr Gammons' as candidate for London mayoral election
- 6 Liz Truss' department slammed for false claim about cost of soy sauce after Brexit
- 7 Andy Burnham could have been 'halfway through tenure as PM by now', claims commentator
- 8 Minister sparks concerns about pig semen after Brexit
- 9 Minister says he 'doesn't understand' accusation he's starving kids in holidays
- 10 Brexiteer in lockdown denial over 49% drop in constituency Covid-19 cases
Best for Britain supporter Virendra Sharma MP said: 'We have heard the EU say the same thing countless times now. But the government continues to roll it's terrible deal in glitter. The prime minister is intent on chasing unicorns instead of putting the national interest first.
'With no breakthrough in sight for negotiations, the government has nowhere left to hide.
'The prime minister's botched Brexit deal must be voted down, and Brexit must be put back in the hands of the British people'
Meanwhile, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has refused to rule out backing a no-deal Brexit if the Withdrawal Agreement is voted down by MPs next week.
Dr Fox, who campaigned for Leave in the 2016 referendum, told the Commons International Trade Committee that no-deal was 'hugely sub-optimal, compared to getting a deal'.
But asked whether the government would back no-deal in the vote scheduled for the following day if the agreement fails, he said: 'Potentially all things are possible.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.