Boris Johnson arrives in Brussels for final Brexit talks
The SNP led administration has become increasingly frustrated of being left out of Brexit negotiations with officials fearing a “last-minute shady deal” would be struck. It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen admitted there were still difference after meeting in Brussels tonight.
The two leaders agreed the UK and EU will continue talks on a post-Brexit trade deal the end of the transition period looms closer.
A further firm decision would be taken about the future of the decisions on Sunday, according to a No10 insider.
A senior Scottish Government source told Express.co.uk on Wednesday night the Tory approach to the talks had been a “shambles”.
The source told this website: “The talks are being dragged on and on, no progress is being made.”
The insider made clear the Scottish Government could liaise with whomever they wished including Michel Barnier and senior EU officials.
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“All options are on the table”, the source said when clarifying their relationship with Brussels.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, tweeted: “A no-deal would be a massive failure of diplomacy and leadership which Boris Johnson has to take ownership of.
“On top of the health & economic impact of Covid this is self induced self harm.
“Disruption to trade, tariffs, higher prices and lost jobs is never a price worth paying.”
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing claimed Westminster’s approach to talks with Brussels has been rather “foolish”.
He said: “The risk in the next couple of weeks is that some last-minute shady deal is done by Mr Frost or whoever on the UK side without reference to Scotland and with unforeseen and unintended adverse consequences for Scotland.”
The SNP Rural Economy Secretary claimed Scotland was also left out of vital talks over fisheries, a sticking point of the current negotiations.
He made clear the Scottish Government team had been “kept out of the room”.
The MSP concluded: “I think that that is a missed opportunity in terms of getting the best deal for Scotland.”
But a UK Government spokesman said it was “untrue that our engagement with the Scottish Government is not meaningful”.
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He added: “Ministers from the Scottish Government are invited to regular meetings of the Exit Operations (XO) Cabinet Committee”
As well as fisheries, talks have faltered on the “level playing field” measures aimed at preventing the UK undercutting the EU on standards and state subsidies, and the way that any deal would be governed.
In a statement following a three-hour-long dinner in Brussels, a senior Number 10 source said: “The PM and VDL had a frank discussion about the significant obstacles which remain in the negotiations.
“Very large gaps remain between the two sides and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged.
“The PM and VDL agreed to further discussions over the next few days between their negotiating teams.”
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “We had a lively and interesting discussion on the state of play across the list of outstanding issues.
“We agreed that the teams should immediately reconvene to try to resolve these essential issues.
“We will come to a decision by the end of the weekend.”
The SNP administration in Edinburgh has been keen to stay linked to Brussels after 62 percent of the country voted to stay in the EU during the 2016 Brexit vote.
Ms Sturgeon sent a message to the EU in her annual SNP conference address making clear Scotland wanted to rejoin the EU if they became independent.
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