Michael Gove holds crisis talks with EU over UK tearing up Brexit divorce terms

Michael Gove will hold crisis talks with the EU today with trade talks on the verge of collapse after UK threats to tear up the Brexit divorce terms.

The Cabinet minister will meet commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic in London amid warnings from Brussels that it could try to impose massive fines.

The showdown comes after the government published legislation that would effectively override the Withdrawal Agreement and potentially break international law, insisting it is necessary to protect the Northern Ireland peace process.  

The high stakes in the row were underlined overnight when US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, warned there will be no Transatlantic trade deal if the agreement is not honoured.

Meanwhile, Michel Barnier and Lord Frost are wrapping up the latest round of trade negotiations this afternoon, with gloom growing about the prospects of a breakthrough on the key issues of fishing rights and obeying EU rules.

Officials from the bloc have been briefing that they believe the UK is deliberately trying to blow up the process, and has already decided there will not be a deal. 

The European commission's Marco Sefcovic (pictured in Brussels yesterday) demanded the 'extraordinary meeting' of the Joint Committee between the UK and EU, which is being held in London around midday

The European commission's Marco Sefcovic (pictured in Brussels yesterday) demanded the 'extraordinary meeting' of the Joint Committee between the UK and EU, which is being held in London around midday

Michael Gove

Mr Johnson said at PMQs that his first responsibility was to protect the Peace Process

Michael Gove (left yesterday) will meet commission vice-president Mr Sefcovic in London amid warnings from Brussels that it could try to impose massive fines. Mr Johnson (pictured in Downing Street yesterday) has said his first responsibility is to protect the Peace Process

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she was 'very concerned' following the tabling in Parliament of the UK Internal Market Bill

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she was 'very concerned' following the tabling in Parliament of the UK Internal Market Bill

Mr Sefcovic has demanded the 'extraordinary meeting' of the Joint Committee between the UK and EU, which is being held in London around midday. 

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she was 'very concerned' following the tabling in Parliament of the UK Internal Market Bill, which ministers have admitted will breach international law.

She said such actions would 'undermine trust' and called on the Prime Minister to honour his past commitments.

The European Commission's chief spokesperson Eric Mamer tweeted last night to confirm the meeting, saying: 'The EU seeks clarifications from the UK on the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.'

The Internal Market Bill, published yesterday, would unilaterally decide details that Brussels insists must be settled by the joint committee, including customs arrangements between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.  

Northern Ireland

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