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The big lie: 'Brexit will be done at the end of January'

December 5, 2019 4:16 PM

Those who still believe the lie being spouted by the Prime Minister amongst others that the Tories intend to get 'get Brexit done' by the end of January may well be shocked by this report in the Independent.

They say that EU leaders will spell out their plans for potentially years more Brexit talks on the day after the general election.

No, this is not a hoax, nor is it yet another trick by the EU to keep us in the club. In fact, these talks are an intrinsic part of the process of leaving the EU and have always been necessary, despite what Boris Johnson might tell us. These talks are necessary to deliver a future trade agreement, and they will take longer than the 12 months the Government claim is needed:

In a striking deja vu, the leak shows the leaders are to confirm that Michel Barnier will reprise his role as chief negotiator, that there would be no side deals with individual member states, and that the issue would come to a head at a string of make-or-break EU summits.

A new no-deal cliff edge would also see the UK potentially leave without a trade agreement to replace the EU's single market at the end of 2020 - with possible extensions, as now.

The EU's 27 presidents and prime ministers will meet in Brussels for a summit on election day, when they will formally confirm the plans, which have already been drawn up by diplomats and officials behind the scenes. If previous summits are a guide, the final version is likely to be published either late on December 12 after the close of polls in the UK, or the next day, December 13. Downing Street has already confirmed Mr Johnson will not attend the meeting to focus on the election.

The leaked draft European Council conclusions seen by The Independent, which are marked as classified information level "LIMITE" or restricted, say that "negotiations should be organised in a way that makes the best possible use of the limited time available for negotiation and ratification by the end of the transition".

The transition period is set to end next December but is extendable for years beyond that with the consent of the EU. The Government says it will not extend the transition, but has also said this prior to every extension of Brexit negotiations and always extended them.

They also add: "The European Council welcomes the Commission's decision to reappoint Michel Barnier for the negotiations on the future relationship. The negotiations will continue to take place in a coherent manner and in a spirit of unity and transparency with all Member States. The negotiations will be conducted in continuous coordination and permanent dialogue with the Council and its preparatory bodies.

"The European Council will follow negotiations closely and agree further general political directions as necessary. Between European Council meetings, the General Affairs Council and Coreper, assisted by a dedicated Working Party, will ensure that the negotiations are conducted in line with the overall positions and principles agreed by the European Council as well as the Council's negotiating mandate, and provide further guidance as necessary."

The agony looks like continuing irrespective of who wins the General Election.