Brexit news: Michel Barnier could ‘walk out’ of crunch talks with David Frost | UK | News
Michel Barnier and David Frost are set to sit down together for the eighth round of Brexit trade negotiations on September 8. However, following reports UK ministers are planning new legislation that could override a key part of the Withdrawal Agreement, there are fears the talks could end in disaster. BBC journalist Adam Fleming told Politics Live the Chief EU Negotiator could even stage a walkout in response to the move.
Mr Fleming said: “If Michel Barnier walks in there tomorrow and David Frost does the extreme interpretation of what’s in the papers today, I wouldn’t be surprised if Michel Barnier walked out.
“That’s this important to him.
“If he stays in the room, that means that all of this has gotten a little bit out of control today and actually this is a technical, legislative exercise that will give no one a sleepless night when it actually happens.
“Although I was really struck, when you meet people around Boris Johnson, some people around him loathe the Withdrawal Agreement, they hate the Ireland protocol, like really hate it.”
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Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, warned that the consequences of the Government’s reported plans could be “damaging”.
He told Politics Live if Britain is seen to renege on an international treaty, the implications for future trade negotiations, which are also international treaties, is “very very serious”.
The surrounding debate concerns the implementation of the Northern Ireland-Ireland protocol in the Brexit deal.
Although the principles are in the Withdrawal Agreement treaty, the details are still to be worked out.
Mr Barnier said he was “disappointed” by the lack of progress and warned that an agreement before the end of the year “seems unlikely”.
Mr Frost described the seventh round talks as “useful” but also flagged that “there had been little progress”.
Michel Barnier is reportedly ready to seek clarification from Westminster about reports of plans to renege on commitments to the withdrawal agreement.