Sunday's front page: Final Throw Of The Dice #tomorrowspaperstoday

BRITAIN and the EU have just 48 hours left to agree a trade agreement or accept that there will be no deal.

PUBLISHED: 21:00, Sat, Dec 5, 2020 | UPDATED: 21:10, Sat, Dec 5, 2020

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Brexit: Michel Barnier says 'we will see' as he leaves UK

The time frame was set by Boris Johnson in a dramatic hour-long phone call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyan on Saturday evening. The two failed to break the deadlock on EU demands over access to British fishing waters and the UK accepting punitive level playing field measures but decided to ask their chief negotiators to have “one last throw of the dice.” It means that Lord Frost will meet Michel Barnier on Sunday morning and talks will conclude on Monday with another phone call between the Prime Minister and Ms von der Leyan.


A source close to the British negotiating team said: “Basically we are not budging. They (the EU) will have to budge. They need to change their mandate.

“If that does not happen by the time the call happens on Monday it will be finished.”

It means that after four and a half years of talks the negotiations are going into their final hours.

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And last night, Tory MPs lined up to tell the Prime Minister not to lose his nerve.

Brexit news: UK has told the EU to drop demands or see no-deal BrexitBrexit news: UK has told the EU to drop demands or see no-deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)

There had been hope that a deal would be reached this week, but the talks this week took a difficult turn after the EU tabled unprecedented and last minute demands which were incompatible with our commitment to becoming a sovereign nation.

The changes were pushed by French President Emmanuel Macron and were completely unacceptable for Britain.

Mr Johnson, who has privately described himself as “the Brexit hardliner in the cabinet, was unwilling to countenance the demands which would have given the EU a decade to plunder British fishing waters and force Britain to accept state aid rules much tougher than the ones the EU members have to endure.

A source close to the talks said that the EU had responded to British compromises, “regrettably, with demands that in no way could be said to recognise that the UK is an independent country, and which would have effectively tied the UK’s regulations to the EU’s in perpetuity.”

READ MORE: Brexit deal in tatters: Boris and VDL agree to FINAL chance

Boris Johnson held a phone call with Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday eveningBoris Johnson held a phone call with Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday evening (Image: FLIKR)

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According to the source it became clear that the process had gone as far as it could at Chief Negotiator level without political intervention.

“The EU’s unrealistic mandate had reached its limits.”

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The Prime Minister spoke to Ms von der Leyen yesterday evening for an hour to try and unlock the process, and agreed that a small team of UK negotiators would travel to Brussels this morning.

They will work intensively to see if they can bridge the final gaps, notably on issues around the so-called level playing field.

Brexit talks threaten EU with major split between Macron and Merkel [VIDEO]

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