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Tory MP Bernard Jenkin has warned Mr Johnson should not accept a Brexit deal that will fail to secure the UK’s independence. He added the UK should have the same respect from the EU that other countries have shown, such as Japan or Canada. His comments come as the UK and EU are still struggling to reach a breakthrough over key sticking points including fishing.
He wrote in the Telegraph: “No self-respecting sovereign state would ever accept being treated in this way, nor accept such terms in a free trade agreement.
“Having voted to be free from EU rule, how much would other nations respect the UK if we signed a new agreement, binding us anew to the EU, and to the rulings of its Court?
“All the UK is asking for is for the same respect for our national sovereignty as the EU has agreed with Japan or Canada.
“After decades of UK taxpayers giving billions every year to the EU, and of guaranteeing European security through Nato, surely the UK is entitled to expect – as Article 8(1) of the EU’s own treaty requires – a little ‘good neighbourliness’?”
Mr Jenkin added Mr Johnson knows the UK could leave with no deal as he will be backed by the “spirit of the British people”.
He said: “Much of this is happening because of an EU policy to introduce covert protectionist measures, such as the requirement for new registration of existing products already approved by the EU.
“But businesses also report that parts of government are still not ready, with HMRC still struggling with systems and processes when it has had more than four years to prepare for this.
“This is what the Government should be focusing on now as we reach the final stages of negotiations.
“That, however, changes little. Whatever the initial problems, the Prime Minister still knows that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.
“With the country and the House of Commons behind him, he should feel emboldened as we finally take back control and unleash the spirit of the British people.”
His comments come after Brexit negotiations were thrown into chaos today after a member of the EU’s team tested positive for coronavirus.
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EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that “we have decided to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period”.
He added: “The teams will continue their work in full respect of guidelines.”
The UK’s negotiator also said Lord Frost said he was in “close contact” with Mr Barnier about the situation.
He said: “The health of our teams comes first.”
This week UK officials in Brussels are working with the EU to discuss what will happen next after the transition period ends next month.
However, it was unclear whether members of the negotiating team will have to self-isolate.
A UK Government spokesman said: “With respect to the relevant public health guidance, the UK and EU teams have agreed to continue to negotiate remotely for the time being.
“The talks will resume in person when it is judged safe to do so. The health and welfare of our staff are our priority.
“The negotiations have been conducted throughout in a way that is consistent with applicable social distancing laws and guidance.”
No member of the UK team has been required to self-isolate and talks are expected to resume in London when it is considered safe.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen wished the member of the EU negotiating team a “speedy recovery”.
She added said work would continue “in full respect of” Covid-19 rules.
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