George Eustice today hinted at a move by the UK on post-Brexit fishing rights, as evidence that Joe Biden's US election victory sparked a new boost for a Brexit trade deal.
The Environment Minister suggested that agreements setting the "ground rules" for EU fleet access could span several years – an obvious departure from the requirement that negotiations take place annually.
The remarks came when Michel Barnier arrived in London for the final round of talks and Boris Johnson insisted that a trade pact with Brussels "is there to be done".
The Prime Minister has been warned that unlike Donald Trump, Mr Biden is a supporter of the EU and has criticized government legislation that some allegations might undermine the Good Friday Agreement.
With maybe just a week left to reach an agreement in time for the end of the transition period on January 1st, both sides are deadlocked on fishing rights and state aid rules.
However, in a round of interviews this morning, Mr Eustice indicated that the government's fishing position may have some leeway.
Michel Barnier (left) is in London today for the final round of talks. Boris Johnson (right) said yesterday that both sides had a deal in sight
The Prime Minister has been warned that unlike Donald Trump, Joe Biden is a supporter of the EU and has criticized government legislation that some allegations could undermine the Good Friday Agreement
George Eustice suggested that agreements setting the "ground rules" for EU fleet access could span several years – an obvious shift from requiring negotiations to be annual
Biden "is an EU supporter" and the UK could "fight" to show that it is "relevant".
Joe Biden is a supporter of the EU and Britain could "fight for relevance" under his presidency, warned former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The Remain activist said the Democrat would view Brexit developments "completely differently" than the defeated incumbent Donald Trump, given his strong Irish roots.
Mr. Clegg, who was David Cameron's deputy on Downing Street during the coalition years, met regularly with Mr. Biden when he was Vice President under Barack Obama.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour, he described the 77-year-old as a "classically warm-hearted politician, full of bonhomie," but said he could "still change gears if necessary."
The UK and US have traditionally been strong allies, but Mr Clegg, who lives in California as head of communications for Facebook, said Britain's influence in the US was declining.
He said: “I think the big dilemma for Britain right now is only one that matters, it is a battle for relevance.
“I think the question is, why should a Joe Biden presidency care about the UK as much as presidents have done in the past when the UK is pulling out of the European bloc that I know has spoken to Joe Biden has taken care of it so often over the years. & # 39;
The former Liberal Democratic leader predicted that Mr Biden and the Prime Minister "would be able to develop a personal relationship" but warned Boris Johnson – who has not met Mr Biden – about how Brexit will be viewed from an Irish perspective in the future would the oval office.
"Joe Biden is incredibly proud of his Irish roots – he made it public in his speech yesterday (after he was named president-elect), he does it privately, too," Seamus Heaney quoted in the blink of an eye, "said Clegg.
He told Sky News: “When it comes to fisheries, we have always been open to a sensible approach, especially to agreements that could span a few years, such as three years.
"We will use it sensibly, but ensuring that we regain control of our own waters and control access to our waters has always been a red line for us in these negotiations."
He added, “The question will be what the sharing arrangements will be, how much mutual access we will allow in each other's waters, and that is obviously a discussion that will take place annually, but there can also be a partnership agreement, in which the basic rules are laid down how we will work on it & # 39;
Lord Frost previously insisted that negotiations must take place annually, although he has suggested that a framework for quotas could be separate.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Johnson said the two sides had a deal in sight. "I've always been a huge enthusiast for a trade deal with our European friends and partners," he said.
"I think it has to be done, the outline is pretty clear."
British sources have denied speculation in Brussels that they engaged in talks over who won the US elections.
The EU's chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, arrived in London yesterday evening five days ago of "intense" talks with his British counterpart David Frost.
There were allegations today that, given the terrorist threat in Europe, Mr Barnier believes a good Brexit deal is necessary.
At private meetings with Brussels officials last week, he said he felt "a weight of responsibility on my shoulders" to find a good deal, given The Sun's economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The negotiators have been working to a "final" date on November 15, but sources said last night that the talks could continue beyond that "for a few days" if a deal is closed.
Peers are preparing to vote in the Lords tonight on controversial parts of the government's Single Market Act that will override last year's Brexit deal in relation to Northern Ireland.
If so, the ministers will ask MPs to reinstall them in the hope that colleagues will resign. The Lords could continue to reject them and use their power to postpone legislation for a year, which could spark a major constitutional battle.
The provisions have also been criticized by US President-elect Joe Biden, who has warned that any move to undermine the peace process could also jeopardize hopes for a US-UK trade deal.
But Mr Johnson denied reports last night that the government is on the verge of dropping measures to prevent the creation of a trade border along the Irish Sea if there is no agreement with the EU.
When asked if the legislation would proceed as planned, Mr Johnson said, “Yes … the parliamentary timetable is moving forward. The purpose of this Act and the Finance Act is to protect and uphold the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland.
"Again, that's one of the things we all agree on with our friends at the White House."
Mr Eustice confirmed today that the government will reintroduce the controversial clauses if they are removed by the Lords.
He told Sky News, “We will. The UK Single Market Act is not about undermining the Belfast Accords, but about standing behind it, making sure it works, advancing Northern Ireland's interests and making sure the hard-won peace and stability there can continue to exist.
“The limited number of areas in which we have assumed power, if Parliament agrees, in order to create legal clarity and certainty in the event that there are areas of the joint committee process in our negotiations with the EU, if there are areas that this can "We do not agree, we must guarantee this legal certainty and clarity."
Ministers recognized the need for the government to convince Mr Biden, who has Irish heritage, that legislation is necessary if trade talks with the EU collapse.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told BBC Andrew Marr: "I am confident that we will approach all of these issues sensitively and correctly." Mr Johnson said yesterday that there was a "good chance" of a trade deal with the US and that progress had already been made.
Sources in Camp Biden suggested the issue would not be an immediate priority for the president.
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