No deal Brexit looms: Chances of deal below 50% as Frost and Barnier given final deadline

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Talks have been ongoing, with EU negotiator Michel Barnier returning to London this week for what he described on Twitter as “intense” negotiations with his UK counterpart Lord Frost. However, one Tory MP with an in-depth knowledge of the situation told they were not optimistic.

I think the chances of a deal are less than 50/50 to be honest

Tory MP

They said: “I think the chances of a deal are less than 50/50 to be honest.

“Put it this way: at the moment I think it is more likely than not that there will not be an agreement.”

The source added: “Barnier stayed longer than anticipated and I think he is still here.

“But as I understand it, things have not really progressed that much.”

One key sticking point stemmed from domestic pressure being piled on French President Emmanuel Macron, the insider suggested.

They explained: “Fisheries remains an issue and that is problematic. One of the biggest problems of course is that Macron has got an interest in getting continued access for French fishermen to British waters and obviously he is not going to get the same access no matter what happens to he is in a bit of difficulty over that.”

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They added: “There is also the issue of the level playing field, which I think is more substantial.

“This plays into the British position that British sovereignty must not in any sense be compromised.

“And if they are expecting us to align with EU regulations, clearly that is not compatible with British sovereignty, because we want to make our own regulations to trade with the rest of the world.”

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Consequently, the MP said, there was “not a not a huge amount of progress, as far as I know.”

Meanwhile time was rapidly running out, the MP stressed.

They said: “Basically November 19 would be the cut-off point and we cannot really take it beyond that to any great extent because the European Parliament and the member states’ Parliaments would have to ratify whatever were arrived at because there would undoubtedly be mixed competence and the EU could not just do it themselves.

“So that does not leave a huge amount of time – we have now got 50 days until the end of the year and the end of the transition period.”

The insider said they were hoping for further discussions in the next few days to clarify the situation, but said both sides were “downbeat” about the prospects of a deal.

They added: “I think there has been progress made because they have been discussing texts but really we have been discussing things in the last three weeks that should have been discussed at the beginning of the process.

“The consequence has been a lot of time wasted because of their refusal to discuss these thing – it is absolutely cart before the horse.

“Normally you try to clear off the stuff that is capable of agreement and then the negotiation then resolves itself to the more difficult parts.

“Whereas here, they refuse to talk about anything other than the most difficult parts, so they have wasted a load of time when we could have been agreeing stuff that was capable of agreement.”

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