Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, earlier this week arrived in London with his entourage of advisers and EU officials. The brief vi
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, earlier this week arrived in London with his entourage of advisers and EU officials. The brief visit is intended to broker a deal with the UK government as the transition period reaches its final months. Mr Barnier’s UK counterpart, David Frost, hosted the Frenchman and his group at a private Downing Street dinner.
There is less than six months until that trade and economic transition period between the UK and EU ends.
Both sides have expressed concern about the lack of progress made.
No deal with trade or security has yet been made.
Officials admit that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown stymied possible negotiations.
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The meeting follows the abrupt ending to the first round of “accelerated” face-to-face talks last week.
It was here that Mr Barnier complained about a perceived lack of respect and engagement from the UK Government.
Asked what would be on the agenda, Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “They’re informal talks, so there is no published agenda, but you are fully aware of the range of issues that we need to reach agreement with the EU on.
“Discussions will cover everything from what the EU calls the level playing field, through to governance structures.”
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In a transcript of last week’s interview between Mr Frost and Mr Barnier, the EU negotiator accused the UK of continuing to seek “the advantages of being a member state” but with the right to diverge on regulations.
Despite all of this, what is now cemented is the fact that Brexit has happened and the tradition period will end.
From 2016 to the end of 2019, it was unclear whether Brexit would ever happen.
Many Remainer politicians, throughout the process, looked for loopholes and articles in which Brexit could be bypassed.
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The most controversial method came from Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats.
In September 2019, she announced her pledge to revoke Brexit without a referendum.
Shortly before this, in July, the politician appeared in a BBC interview in which she said she would do “whatever it takes to stop Brexit”.
This was interpreted in Westminster for what it was.
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One Conservative MP immediately called out the Lib Dem leader for her “undemocratic” plans.
Tory MP Philip Holobone in July 2019 told The Sun that “Jo Swinson has let the cat out of the bag.”
He said: “It shows the Liberal Democrats are not democratic at all.
“Even if people voted to leave a second time she would continue to disrespect the result.
“It tells you all you need to know about the Liberal Democrats.
“Isn’t it about time the Liberal Democrats changed their name?”
Tory backbencher, Philip Davies, took a similar line of reasoning.
He told the publication: “We all know the Liberal Democrats are neither liberal nor democratic but they have never admitted it so openly.
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“Jo Swinson is clearly an establishment Westminster bubble stooge.
“The Lib Dems used to pride themselves on being the anti-establishment party of pavement politics.
“They now don’t even hide their contempt for voters and democracy.
“It isn’t a new leader they need, it is clearly a new Party name.”
Despite believing they appealed to a swathe of the country, the Lib Dems went on to suffer a resounding defeat.
Ms Swinson even lost her seat to the Scottish National Party (SNP) by 149 votes, shortly stepping down as leader of the party.