Michael Gove insists a Brexit deal in 2020 is ‘entirely possible’ despite coronavirus

MICHAEL Gove has insisted a Brexit deal is “entirely possible” by the end of 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis dominating Government.

The Cabinet Office Minister claimed Britain believed will not need to extend the transition period due because of the pandemic.

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Appearing in front of the Brexit Committee today, Mr Gove suggested the crisis could even “focus minds” to get a deal done by December 31.

He said: "We believe it is still entirely possible to conclude negotiations on the timetable that has been outlined.

"Remaining in the transition period would mean we would have to pay the EU money which many of you might think would be better spent on the NHS or supporting our economy.

"I think the coronavirus crisis should concentrate the minds of EU negotiators, underlining the vital importance of coming to a conclusion."

Mr Gove argued for leave during the referendum, and is politically in charge of the trade talks.

Number 10 last week complained Brussels was playing hardball and refusing to recognise Britain as finally having left the EU.

The Prime Ministers official spokesman said: “We are ready to keep talking but that does not make us any more likely to agree the EU's proposals in areas where they are not taking into account the UK's status as an independent state.

"Clearly there will need to be political movement on the EU side to move negotiations forward, particularly on fisheries and level playing field issues, in order to help find a balanced solution which reflects the political realities on both sides.

“We are quite clear that we are leaving the transition period on December 31, we will work with the EU to try to do that with a deal”.

The talks have been hit hard by the virus, with meetings cancelled and both chief negotiators affected.

No10 has repeatedly dismissed extending the transition period.

EU chiefs insist they must know by June if Britain is to seek an extension.

Boris Johnson had it written into law that Britain would leave after December 31, with or without a deal.

With extensions into 2021 one month at a time, Britain would pay a proportion of an annual fee to keep trade barriers up.

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