Brexit LIVE: Johnson could simply walk away from trade talks as Barnier makes new demand

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EU officials have warned they won’t back down on “evolution clauses”, which would ensure UK standards on issues such as the environment, workers’ rights, labour standards, taxation and state aid remain tied to the bloc. But the deadlock remains as UK officials have said they are a “non-starter”.

A source said the future of talks was now in the hands of Mr Johnson over the next few “critical days” adding: “More of the same is clearly not going to cut it”.

It comes after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “very serious divergences” remain between the EU and UK as efforts continue to strike a post-Brexit trade deal.

He said the main stumbling blocks remained the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition on areas including state subsidies, fisheries policy and the governance of any deal.

Mr Barnier said: “Despite EU efforts to find solutions, very serious divergences remain in level playing field, governance and fisheries.”These are essential conditions for any economic partnership.”

While the UK’s David Frost said progress had been made during two weeks of intensive talks but “wide divergences remain on some core issues”.

He added: ”We continue to work to find solutions that fully respect UK sovereignty.”


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