Published On: Wed, May 20th, 2020

Government makes draft Brexit legal texts public to pressure Brussels to back down on demands

THE government published its terms for a free-trade agreement with the European Union today as it sought to increase pressure on Brussels to back down over its demands.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told MPs that the government had decided to make Britain’s draft legal texts public.

A 291-page draft comprehensive free-trade agreement was among the 12 documents published.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss also published the tariff schedule that Britain would operate at the end of the transition period for countries with whom it does not have a free-trade agreement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said that making the documents public means that all the EU 27 member states will be able to see the offer on the table, not just the European Commission.

But he added: “We are not seeking to negotiate directly with member states and never have.”

The third round of talks between Britain and EU negotiators again ended in stalemate last week due to disagreements over access to fishing waters after the transition period ends in December, and the EU’s call for Britain to continue following level-playing field arrangements.

Mr Gove told the Commons that the EU wanted Britain to continue to “obey [the] rules of their club, even though we’re no longer members,” while itself refusing to row back on fishing rights.

He said success in the fourth round of the talks, due to start on June 1, “depends on the EU recognising that the UK is sovereign.”

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he welcomed the “transparency” being shown by the government in publishing the draft documents.

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