Lord Frost issues veiled threat to EU – Cummings departure ‘changes nothing’ in trade row

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As Brexit talks restart in Brussels amid infighting in Downing Street, concerns have arisen over what impact Dominic Cummings’s exit could have on the process. The UK’s Chief Negotiator Lord David Frost has said “significant elements” are yet to be agreed as negotiations continue. BBC Newscast presenter Adam Fleming spoke to Politics Live about his stark message to the European Union.

Mr Frost had tweeted: “We are working to get a deal, but the only one that’s possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, our trade, and our waters.

“That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it.”

Mr Fleming offered an explanation: “What David Frost is doing is two things there.

“Number one is that he’s saying to people if you think Dominic Cummings departure from the top table at No10 makes any difference to my negotiating strategy, no it does not.”

He continued: “The second thing it tells us is that nothing has really changed.

“It sounds like they made a bit of progress in terms of getting the text of the treaty in better shape.

“It’s up to something like 600 or 800 pages now.

“But the bits where they haven’t agreed are in square brackets, as you do in the process of drawing a legal text for a treaty.”

The BBC journalist added: “And the bits in square brackets are the bits that have always been tricky for them to agree.

“It’s the level playing field, stuff about constraining economic competition in return for access to the single market, fish and governance.

“Governance being how you actually manage the relationship and the treaty going forward.”

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Sticking points between the two sides focus on competition rules, state aid and fishing rights.

These have plagued the negotiations right from the start, with each side refusing to budge on their red lines.

In October, Boris Johnson began warning British businesses to prepare for a no deal exit.

Time is quickly running out as the transition period deadline at the end of December looms.

Any deal between the UK and EU would need to be ratified by parliaments on both sides.

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