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Brexit trade talks with the EU are nearing a close as just two weeks are left for the two sides to agree to a deal. Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has said Britain is prepared to stand firm on its red lines and not cave to EU demands, in a hint the UK is more than happy to leave without a deal in place.
Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, attacked EU arrogance and accused the bloc of acting in bad faith during Theresa May’s premiership.
He said: “In the past with some of the negotiations we have had with the EU we bent over backwards to be accommodating and we didn’t get the benefit of the doubt as a result.
“So now we are going to be absolutely crystal clear with the EU as we have been over the course of the last few weeks.
“Look if you are not going to talk turkey with us that’s fine, we can leave, we can say that’s it, no negotiated outcome we are ready come what may.”
Mr Gove made the comments during the Blue Collar Conservatism/Daily Express virtual conference this week and said the UK is standing firm on its red lines.
He dismissed reports Britain is conceding to the EU in a number of areas.
The Cabinet Minister said: “The EU has this sort of kidology approach.
“They try to use tactics to make voters in Britain and British politicians worried.
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“I think one of the reasons they are coming out with this now is that they know in these negotiations we have stood firm throughout.”
Mr Gove’s remarks are a clear indication the Government is fully prepared to walk away from the talks if the bloc is not prepared to make concessions.
Trade talks are currently underway in Brussels this week and are due to wind up on Friday.
A fresh row has erupted over Boris Johnson’s plans to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Brexit deal agreed with the EU last year.
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The Government plans to alter the legally binding agreement if a trade deal is not reached with the bloc.
The changes, outlined in the Internal Markets Bill, mainly concern plans for Northern Ireland.
The Bill passed its third reading in the Commons on Tuesday night, with a majority of 84 and will now be debated in the House of Lords.
Today it emerged Brussels will formally open legal proceedings against the UK for planning to change the agreement.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will send a “letter of formal notice” to the Prime Minister in a bid to make him drop his plans to rip up sections of last year’s divorce deal.
Eurocrats will claim the UK has breached a number of “good faith” clauses in the Withdrawal Agreement.
If the Government refuses to back down, Mr Johnsons could be forced to go before judges at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Ms Von der Leyen is due to give a statement on the matter later today.
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