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BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg explained that Brexit negotiations will conclude on January 1, unlike other trade deals that can go on for years. But she also said “never say never” on the notion there could feasibly be yet another delay to the transition period. It comes as Boris Johnson set a deadline of October 15 to strike a free-trade deal with the European Union.
Speaking on the BBC’s Brexitcast, Ms Kuenssberg said: “This isn’t something we’ve passed the deadline for an extension, the status quo runs out.
“Normally in a trade deal it just goes on and on until it’s concluded and the status quo lasts.
“The status quo ends, it’s done on January 1.
“Whether that’s business relationships or whether its border in Northern Ireland, it’s over and it’s done.
“We can joke about deadlines because it’s such a feature but last time there were extensions.
“Last time deadlines came and went and, never say never, but this time, we’re not in that situation.”
Britain began a fresh round of Brexit trade talks by warning the European Union that it was ramping up preparations to leave the bloc without an agreement.
Little progress has been made since the UK left the EU on January 31.
The UK’s chief negotiator has called for “more realism” from the EU on the eve of crunch negotiations to broker a post-Brexit trade deal.
Lord David Frost said the two sides “can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground” in the deadlocked talks, as he warned progress must be made this week to get an agreement in place for the end of the transition period.
He was speaking ahead of a meeting with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier for the eighth round of talks beginning in London on Tuesday.
Downing Street has sought to increase pressure on Brussels, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson setting a five-week deadline for trade talks to succeed in time for the transition’s end on December 31.
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But talks were set for a collision course over new Brexit legislation which has dismayed senior EU figures, who are concerned it could override key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Lord Frost said: “Today, I will sit down with Michel Barnier and drive home our clear message that we must make progress this week if we are to reach an agreement in time.
“We have now been talking for six months and can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground.
“We need to see more realism from the EU about our status as an independent country.”
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