'Last stumbling blocks remain in Brexit trade talks' says Barnier

As talks in Brussels are continuing, with two weeks to go before the UK leaves EU trading rules,  EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has stated ‘good progress’ has been made on a post-Brexit trade deal, but the ‘last stumbling blocks remain’.

Earlier, Michael Gove said the UK government would do "everything to secure a deal" with the EU. He also told MPs they could be called back from their Christmas break to approve a deal if one was agreed.

However, officials from the European Parliament said they would not be rushed into approving the deal their end, and would have to see the text of any agreement by Sunday if they were to sign it off by the end of the year.

The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Wednesday a ‘narrow path’ has opened up for the two sides to conclude a deal. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said he still viewed No-Deal as the most likely outcome.

The UK left the EU on 31 January, but has remained under many of its rules while the two sides negotiate a trade deal. If an agreement is not reached by 31 December, the UK will have to trade with the EU on World Trade Organization rules - meaning taxes on goods being bought and sold between the two may be introduced, and could lead to higher prices.

According to bbc.com¸ UK MPs are due to break up for Christmas later on Thursday, but Mr Gove confirmed they could be called back to the Commons if a deal is agreed between negotiators. He said the government would ‘request that the House returns in order to make sure that we can legislate effectively’.

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