EU’s deep distrust in Boris Johnson on Brexit laid bare in explosive leaked memo

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The revelation comes as a new round of trade discussions is set to start today in London. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said she would not do business with Britain in future if the UK did not comply with the rules set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

According to cables sent to EU states from Brussels, the Prime Minister is believed to be postponing reaching an agreement on the key issues of fisheries, state aid and dispute resolution in order to reach a last-minute “trade off”.

About the suspected move, a commission official had told EU diplomats: “These points will not be easy to iron out with just a phone call between leaders. It is leaving it too late.”

The cables also claimed Home Secretary Priti Patel will attempt to go round Brussels and open secondary discussions on internal security after inviting ministers from the five largest EU member countries to a summit in London on 22 September.

In a memo leaked to The Guardian, Commission officials have urged the states to avoid accepting any UK propositions that are made there.

They also accused Downing Street of controlling a series of anti-EU articles in the British press.

The cables were leaked as Boris Johnson revealed his intention to ask for the UK-EU divorce deal to be amended.

The document leaves Northern Ireland isolated from the rest of the UK due to “unforeseen” circumstances when the settlement took place last year.

In a tweet, Ms Von der Leyen wrote: “I trust the British government to implement the withdrawal agreement, an obligation under international law & prerequisite for any future partnership.

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“Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island & integrity of the single market.”

Michel Barnier also insisted that the Northern Ireland protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement was a “prerequisite for peace since the end of the conflict.”

“And it’s the prerequisite for a united and coherent economy for the entire island, and also to respect the single market”.

Speaking on France Inter radio, Mr Barnier said: “Everything that has been signed must be respected.

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“We demand quite simply, and calmly, and until the end, that the political commitments in the text agreed by Boris Johnson be legally translated into this treaty.

“The important thing for me is what the prime minister says and does, and what the British government itself says and does.”

David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, is set to tell Mr Barnier that the EU should come to terms with the “reality” that Britain is a sovereign state.

Lord Frost will also “drive home our clear message that we must make progress this week if we are to reach an agreement in time”.

He added: “We have now been talking for six months and can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground.

“We need to see more realism from the EU about our status as an independent country.

“As we have done from the beginning in public and in private, I will reinforce our simple, reasonable request for a free trade agreement based on those the EU has signed before with like-minded partners.”

The UK’s chief negotiator said the UK had “listened closely” to what the bloc had to say and “signalled flexibility”.

However, he said: “We have repeatedly made clear that key elements of our position derive from the fundamentals of being a sovereign state, and it’s time for the EU to fully recognise this reality.”

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