EU trade commissioner, Phil Hogan claimed the Prime Minister will not “die in a ditch” over the timeline of the future relationship going forward. Mr Hogan did also admit a no deal Brexit would “pour salt on the wounds” in an interview for the Irish Times. Boris Johnson will reportedly set up a new taskforce in Number 10 to spearhead talks with Brussels. The UK is set to leave the EU next month and Mr Johnson wants a team which will decide the UK’s future relationship and trading agreement with the trade bloc.
According to The Mail on Sunday, the team will be led by the Prime Minister and his Europe adviser, David Frost.
The creation of “Taskforce Europe” coincides with the dissolving of the Department for Exiting the European Union.
On the continent, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, insisted an extension to the transition period is still possible despite Mr Johnson’s previous claims.
Ms von der Leyen said: “It would be reasonable to evaluate the situation mid-year and then, if necessary, agree on extending the transition period.”
The transition period can be extended by July 1 and can last until 2022.
However, Mr Johnson’s withdrawal agreement did include legal parameters to stop Parliament from voting on such a measure.
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Brexit LIVE: EU fears
5.20pm update: US Ambassador confident of post-Brexit trade deal in 2020 – ‘incredible year’
US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, has said 2020 is set to be a “incredible year” ahead of the start of post-Brexit trade talks between Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump.
The US Ambassador has called on the two nations to “embrace the opportunity” and sent “trade into the stratosphere”.
He wrote on Twitter: “2020 promises to be an incredible year for the #SpecialRelationship.
“Let’s embrace the opportunity to take US & UK trade into the stratosphere!”
4.35pm update: Sir Vince Cable urges Remainers to learn from Nigel Farage
Sir Vince Cable has insisted Remainers can learn “several big lessons” from leading Brexiteer Nigel Farage, if one day Brexit is to be reversed.
The former leader of the Liberal Democrats said the Brexit Party leader treated Brexit as the “Hundred Years War” and urged fellow Remainers to “develop similar patience”.
Sir Vince also conceded the case for Britain rejoining the EU anytime soon will have “little traction” and said it may take up to a decade.
Sir Vince wrote in the Independent: “I believe there are several big lessons we can learn from him. The first is strategic patience.
“He treated Brexit as the modern equivalent of the Hundred Years War.
“He ignored repeated setbacks and kept on fighting. I recall debating with him decades ago when the Brexit cause was little more than an obscure cult.
“I was struck then by his relentless stamina and disregard for fashionable opinion.
“Remainers will have to develop similar patience, since the case for rejoining the EU will have little traction in the next few years.
“In a decade, things may well be different.”
4.00pm update: Sir Vince Cable slams the Lib Dems policy to revoke Article 50
Former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Vince Cable, has heavily criticised the party’s policy to revoke Article 50, insisting the plan only appealed to hardcore Remainers.
Sir Vince wrote in the Independent: “The Labour Party couldn’t decide where it stood, while my own party appealed to hardest core of hard Remainers with its unsuccessful ‘revoke’ policy, turning off many others.
“All our tactical cleverness in parliament and talk of cross-party unity, dissolved on the electoral battlefield.”
3.30pm update: Clive Lewis insists Labour will not ‘re-open’ Brexit debate
Labour leadership hopeful Clive Lewis has insisted he does not want to “re-open” the Brexit debate if he succeeds Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition.
Mr Lewis wrote on Twitter: “Just to be clear about my comments on R4: I don’t want to re-open the Brexit debate. What’s done is done.
“Our challenge now is to create a vision for the kind of country we want to be post-Brexit.”
2.41pm update: Brexit talks continue
Brexit Party MEP, Rupert Lowe has tweeted his wish an update on the current Brexit negotiations.
He said: “A lot of positive talk coming out of Downing Street regarding Brexit.
“Let’s hope this translates into some firm action in 2020! Credit to Boris, he’s been sound so far.
“If he delivers a clean break with the EU within a reasonable timetable then he’ll be a national hero!”
12.22pm update: Boris will extend Brexit transition
Phil Hogan has warned the Prime Minister will eventually ask for an extension while also stating his desire to talk of the substance of the deal rather than the timeline.
Speaking to the Irish Times, He said: “I don’t believe prime minister Johnson will die in the ditch over the timeline for the future relationship either.
“It is important that we move from stunt to substance.
“It would be helpful if the focus was on content rather than timetables.”
12.02pm update: Clive Lewis criticises Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy
Labour leadership contender, Clive Lewis has announced his pitch to take over from Jeremy Corbyn by criticising the outgoing leader’s handling of Brexit.
Mr Lewis claimed his party should have argued for a solely Remain position and hit out at his party for not identifying a position on Brexit.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Lewis said: “One of the key USPs of Jeremy Corbyn was that he was an authentic politician.
“I genuinely believe that he was, but on the biggest political crisis of British modern politics, we were unable, via Jeremy, to be able to take a position.
“I think actually we should have stood our ground and argued our case.”
11.38am update: Steve Barclay responds to farmer pledge
In response to an Express story on the UK’s pledge to farmers, Mr Barclay said his party was “delivering” on the manifesto.
He added: “We’re delivering on our manifesto commitments to support farmers.
“£3bn has been pledged to help farmers prepare for their future outside of the EU.”
Brexit LIVE: Steve Barclay
11.18am update: UK Government to hand farmer £2.9billion
The Government will hand farmers £2.9billion next year to replace EU subsidies after Brexit.
Ahead of the New Year, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid promised a “fairer and less bureaucratic” system.
The £2.9billion surplus will be paid from December 2020 for the year ahead as under the EU scheme.
In a statement, Mr Javid said: “When we leave the EU and are freed from the Common Agricultural Policy, we will be able to support our vital rural communities — who are a cornerstone of life in the UK — with a fairer and less bureaucratic system.
“Farmers can enter the New Year with confidence that they have our backing and will be able to thrive after Brexit.”
10.43am update: UK independence
Tory MP, Sir John Redwood has declared his joy at the UK’s impending independence.
He wrote: “I’m looking forward to the next decade when the UK becomes an independent country again.
“We will be global in vision and outward-looking. We will regain our vote and voice in international bodies.
“We can be a force for free trade and peace.”
10.36am update: Northern Ireland reception to new border
Mr Foster also questioned how the Unionist community in Northern Ireland may perceive the imposition of a new border.
He wrote: “A lot will depend and this is true for all these coming negotiations on how the UK side plays it – but the operation of that customs filter will also be in gift of EU: what proportion of NI-bound goods must be in ‘red’ channel and what in Green.
“And recalling that the Unionist community has not given consent for this new border, how it will react on the ground to being cordoned off behind a new customs border in the Irish Sea.
“Is it a matter of principle? Or a matter of time if downstream costs filter into NI?”
Brexit LIVE: Arlene Foster
9.56am update: Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings’ alliance
Mr Foster also questioned whether the alliance will continue to “reap the rewards” for the pair.
Although Mr Johnson now has a 86-seat majority, the problem of imposing a new border in Ireland may be unworkable.
Mr Foster wrote: “The unanswered question for 2020 and beyond is whether Boris Johnson and his man Mr Cummings will continue to reap the political dividend from this victory or if the triumph of 2019 turns out to be shortlived/superficial.
“Because those of us that railed about the non-viability of a new North-South trade border imposed without the consent of nationalist communities living on that border might also fret about a west-east border imposed without consent on Unionists.”
9.22am update: Dominic Cummings prepared “to force through no deal”
Tweeting today, The Daily Telegraph’s, Europe editor, Peter Foster has written a thread analysing the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Within his analysis, Mr Foster insisted the Prime Minister’s adviser, Dominic Cummings was prepared to “force through a no deal Brexit”.
With his new majority, Mr Foster wrote of how during the previous negotiations, Mr Johnson and his team were angling for a new border on the island of Ireland.
He added: “Dominic Cummings, after all, was prepared to force through a ‘no deal’ Brexit without any provision for the direct rule legislation that would have been needed to stabilise NI in the event of a ‘no deal’ given the Stormont Executive wasn’t sitting.”
8.27am update: ‘Salt on the wounds’
EU trade commissioner, Phil Hogan, has spoken of the potential catastrophe of a no deal Brexit.
He told the Irish Times: “A no-deal Brexit would pour salt into the wounds and risks dividing families, communities and regions.
“This is precisely what the UK does not need now.”
(Additional reporting by Bill McLoughlin)