Express.co.uk understands draft UK relationship legislation could be debated in the House of Commons within a week as talks on a post-Brexit trade deal have made better progress in recent days. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission said there were still “quite some metres to the finish” but that there had been “more movement” on important issues.
Weeks of talks hinted some movement on key issues including state aid rules, governance arrangements and fisheries with Mrs von der Leyen stressing she was encouraged by the latest round of meetings.
It comes after talks face-to-face negotiations were temporarily suspended on Thursday after a member of Michel Barnier’s EU negotiating team tested positive for COVID-19.
Boris Johnson has expressed the desire to lay down an agreement “as soon as possible” with draft legal texts up to 95 percent complete on a trade deal.
Whitehall officials close to the negotiations told Express.co.uk the UK Government were keen to get a deal secured by November 30th, St Andrews Day.
One said: “It’s all hands on deck now, we’re keen to secure a deal and hope to have draft legislation ready for debate very soon.”
They stressed the importance of securing a deal saying: “It’s essential we secure one sooner rather than later as time is running out.”
Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey’s External Relations Minister hinted UK officials had made some progress on “landing zones” for fisheries after conservations he had.
Mr Gorst told the States of Jersey Brexit Committee: “I have felt I suppose for the last number of days that the UK was moving towards the possibility of a deal.
Mrs Von der Leyen stressed negotiators were now working from legal texts with “substance where you can go through line by line”.
But she acknowledged time was tight if they were to get a deal in time with only six weeks to go.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the talks would proceed remotely into the weekend and into next week.
The official spokesman added: “As soon as talks can resume in person they will.”