Boris 'willing to not break international law' if Brexit stalemate ends
is prepared to not break international law if Brexit negotiations progress (Picture: PA)

Boris Johnson ‘would be prepared’ to not break international law with the UK Internal Market Bill if progress is made during Brexit negotiations this week.

The controversial Bill will return to the Commons later today, as talks with the EU in Brussels reach a critical stage. The House of Lords removed clauses that allowed ministers to ignore the withdrawal agreement, but MPs will be asked to re-insert the powers.

A spokesperson for the Government has now said: ‘Discussions continue to progress and final decisions are expected in the coming days.

‘The UK Government would also be prepared to deactivate clauses 45 and 47, concerning state aid, such that they could be used only when consistent with the United Kingdom’s rights and obligations under international law.

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‘Good progress continues to be made regarding the decision as to which goods are ‘at risk’ of entering the EU market. Talks continue this afternoon. In the light of those discussions, the Government will keep under review the content of the forthcoming Taxation Bill.’

It comes as Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, set a new deadline for the Brexit negotiations, as he warned that talks will not go beyond Wednesday. He went on to say the discussions were now ‘not far from the very endgame’.

Boris 'willing to not break international law' if Brexit stalemate ends
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said discussions were now ‘not far from the very endgame’ (Picture: Reuters)

He is said to have have given a ‘downbeat’ and ‘gloomy’ assessment of progress in reaching a post-Brexit trade deal in an update to ambassadors from the 27 member states earlier today.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney told RTE news: ‘Having heard from Michel Barnier this morning, really the news is very downbeat. I would say he is very gloomy, and obviously very cautious about the ability to make progress today.

‘There was news last night on some media sources that there was a breakthrough on fishing. That is absolutely not the case from what we’re hearing this morning.’

Number 10 has since appeared to contradict Barnier’s deadline, by saying the UK would continue post-Brexit trade deal negotiations for ‘as long as we have time available’.

Boris 'willing to not break international law' if Brexit stalemate ends
Johnson will speak to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today (Picture: Getty Images)

The Prime Minister’s spokesman told a Westminster briefing: ‘Time is obviously in very short supply and we’re in the final stages, but we’re prepared to negotiate for as long as we have time available if we think an agreement is still possible.’

He went on to say that ‘significant differences’ between the two parties, including fishing rights, will be discussed today, but ruled out negotiations continuing after this year. There are now just over three weeks until the end of the transition period.

At 4pm today, Johnson and the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will assess whether a deal can be salvaged. It will be their second call in little over 48 hours.

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