Brexit news: EU must be flexible to get a deal, says Michael Gove

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Minister Michael Gove said an agreement can only be reached if Britain is treated as a sovereign nation. Negotiations are expected to break up today in London before resuming in Belgium next week. The EU wants negotiations signed off within days, but Number 10 said significant gaps remain.

Mr Gove, Cabinet Office Minister, said: “The UK has already shown a great degree of flexibility in these negotiations, but it is important also that the European Union shows flexibility too.

“In particular, there needs to be a full recognition that we are sovereign equals. And any attempt to continue to tie the UK into EU processes or to extend EU jurisdiction by other means would be quite wrong.”

Downing Street said “time is in short supply” and has ruled out setting a deadline.

But EU diplomats are pushing hard for progress ahead of a summit of European leaders next Thursday.

Brussels sources said progress has been “slow” as both sides fail to bridge the gaps over fishing rights and common standards.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have been working hard throughout to get a deal, but we’ve always said that it needs to be a deal that fully respects UK sovereignty and that’s what we’re continuing to pursue.”

Lord Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, and EU counterpart Michel Barnier will stay in “close contact” over the weekend. MEPs are due to approve a free-trade deal on December 16.

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