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Michel Barnier travelled to London this afternoon for informal post-Brexit trade talks with his UK counterpart David Frost in Downing Street. The unscheduled visit comes after five months of turbulent negotiations, which has left both sides on the brink of a no deal outcome at the formal end of the transition period on December 31.
The visit to the capital comes ahead of the eighth round of negotiations starting in London on September 7 – with several outstanding issues over trade, fisheries and state aid remaining high on the agenda.
However, a poll of more than 7,000 Express.co.uk readers, has found the overwhelming majority believe Mr Barnier is wasting his time and the Prime Minister should send him back to Brussels.
The survey conducted on September 1 between 12.55pm and 8.00pm on Express.co.uk asked 7,837 readers “Should Boris Johnson send Michel Barnier back to Brussels?”
A huge 97 percent (7,605) of people send Mr Johnson should send the EU negotiator back to Europe and voted yes.
Just over 2.5 percent (211) of those surveyed thought Mr Barnier should remain in the UK for talks and voted no.
Meanwhile, less than 0.5 percent (21) of people, remained unsure and said they did not know.
A number of passionate Express.co.uk readers let their feelings known in the comments section, with many urging the UK and end talks outright and leave on no deal or World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
One user said: “I hope Barnier is sent packing, the talks are over. It is not trade the EU wants it is vassalage and capitulation. WTO is the only option if the UK is to retain its sovereignty and independence.”
A second reader wrote: “He should never have come to the UK, he has nothing new to offer so why is he here? Wasting valuable time we could be using to get us into WTO working conditions!”
A third commented: “Boris and Frost are flogging a dead horse. Barnier and co are still thinking that we are a vassal of the EU and not a sovereign nation. Time to waste no more time and concentrate on Australia type deal, one which most countries of the world trade under.”
Meanwhile, a fourth simply said: “Yes with a note saying no deal good bye.”
Following the seventh round of trade talks in Brussels last month, Mr Barnier took aim at the UK for continuing to reject a so-called level-playing field on trade and warned a deal now “seems unlikely” before the deadline.
He added: “No international agreement was ever reached without the parties agreeing to common rules.”
Mr Frost said he believes a trade deal is still possible but acknowledged “there has been little progress”.
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The UK chief negotiator said the EU’s insistence on accepting its terms on state aid and fishing had made an agreement “unnecessarily difficult”.
This afternoon, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We will continue to work hard to reach an agreement and look forward to the next round next week.
“We believe an agreement is still possible and it is still our goal but it is clear that will not be easy to achieve.”
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