Shropshire MPs support extended Brexit trade talks

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"Any deal that we get with the European Union has to respect the fact that we are a sovereign country, we are an independent country and that's the basis on which we will do a deal if there's a deal to be done", Business Secretary Alok Sharma told journalists.

But he said leaving without an agreement "remained the most likely outcome", according to Downing Street.

Mike Russell said a deal would be better than the "complete disruption" of no deal but described Brexit as "utter folly".

"When it comes to all the defence and security aspects that I'm involved with, those links will not change and if anything they will be as strong, and of course North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the critical but not the only vehicle".

Speaking about attempts to reach a deal, Mr Johnson said yesterday: 'We're going to continue to try and we're going to try with all our hearts and be as creative as we possibly can, but what we can't do is compromise on that fundamental nature of what Brexit is all about which is us being able to control our laws, control our fisheries, it's very, very simple.

"I'm afraid we're still very far apart on some key things, but where there's life, there's hope", Johnson told reporters Sunday.

Without a post-Brexit deal, Britain's trade with its biggest market would in future operate on pared-down World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, including tariffs and quotas. "We're seeing also that business is extremely unhappy about still being in a high degree of uncertainty with only a few days to go".

Speaking on Monday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the United Kingdom has "either to play by our rules, because this is a matter of fairness for our companies. or the other choice is there is a price on it, and the price is border and tariffs".

"It is our responsibility to give the talks every chance of success", he said.

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There are still unanswered questions about significant areas, including security cooperation between the two sides and access to the European Union market for Britain's huge financial services sector.

The UK and EU's chief negotiators Lord Frost and Michel Barnier are continuing talks in Brussels after reports that progress in the talks could see a deal agreed this week.

The need for any deal to be approved by Parliament means talks can not continue until New Year's Eve, but MPs are braced for the prospect of sitting over the festive period. "What we want is a good deal, a deal that respects these principles of economic fair play and, also, these principles of governance".

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on Sunday said he believed a post-Brexit trade deal could be reached and that both sides wanted one, but that negotiations really needed to be finalized in the next few days.

'If an acceptable deal is not agreed then the prime minister will have failed.

The Frenchman told journalists in Brussels that fair competition rules and fishing rights remained unresolved after nine months of talks. "We'll look at a deal if they get it", the Labour leader said.

Both sides are teetering on the brink of a no-deal Brexit departure, but have committed to a final push ahead of January 1, when a transitional period following Britain's January 31 departure from the bloc is to end.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said the ongoing uncertainty made it hard for businesses to prepare for January 1.

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