The trade negotiations between the UK and EU are continuing this week, despite the Government announcing that they could be willing to pursue a no-deal Brexit.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, said on The Andrew Marr Show that he is an “optimist” and that there is “a good chance” the UK can get a deal.
The negations are continuing despite the fact that Boris Johnson had set a 15th October deadline for reaching an agreement. However, both sides have said that they would need to reach a deal by the end of October, so it can be ratified by the necessary national parliaments.
As things currently stand, the UK is set to leave the EU trading bloc on 1st January, following an eleven-month transition period in which it agreed to abide by EU rules.
Mr Lewis had previously said: “Obviously we would like to secure a good free trade agreement, one that’s good for ourselves here in the UK. Obviously that’s the prime work for us.
“The fact that Michel Barnier has outlined in the past week or so that they are going to come back to do these intensive negotiations, that he recognises the EU do need to move and that he is staying through until next week is hopefully a very good sign.
“But we have got to make sure that it’s a deal that works, not just for our partners in Europe – we want to have a good relationship with them, obviously – but one that works for the United Kingdom.”
He also said that “the EU need to understand it is for them to move as well, so that we can get a deal that works for the UK as well – a proper free trade agreement that recognises us as the UK being a sovereign nation.”
Barnier arrived in the UK last Thursday and is due to have negotiations until today. He had been due to return on Sunday.