BORIS Johnson has assured his cabinet that a Brexit withdrawal with the EU is ‘there to be done’, amid signs Joe Biden’s US election win has sparked a desire to double down on negotiation.
The prime minister is hoping to finally strike transatlantic trade this week before the European Union’s deadline to reach an agreement on November 16.
Sources say Biden’s win has injected renewed impetus into the talks, with Johnson ready to push forward on efforts to reach a deal.
“I’ve always been a great enthusiast for a trade deal with our European friends and partners,” he said.
“I think it’s there to be done, the broad outlines are pretty clear.”
His remarks come as Michel Barnier said he was ‘happy to be back in London’ on Monday to set out ‘three keys to unlock a deal’.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator landed in the UK for five days of ‘intensive’ talks with his British counterpart David Frost, highlighting fair trade and fishing agreements as the main points up for discussion.
But Johnson’s optimism was tempered by a downbeat assessment from Downing Street, with No 10 claiming “significant differences remain” between the two sides.
A spokeswoman added: “The prime minister set out that, while some progress had been made in recent discussions, significant differences remain in a number of areas, including the so-called level playing field, and fish.”
She said they had agreed that their negotiating teams would continue talks in London this week to “redouble efforts to reach a deal”, adding that they would remain “in personal contact about the negotiations”.
Johnson is coming under increasing pressure to strike a deal with the EU amid fears that the country will struggle to find an ally with new US president Joe Biden.
Nigel Farage this week blasted the prime minister for failing to secure a withdrawal agreement ahead of the US election results, claiming that Joe Biden ‘hates the UK’.
The leader of the Brexit Party said Johnson had ‘four years to do a trade deal’ with Trump, who Farage claims is a ‘pro-UK President’.
But with Biden soon heading into the White House, Farage claims there is now ‘no chance’ of a deal being done between the two sides.
The former UKIP leader tweeted a TV clip of Biden along with the caption: “As you can see from this clip, Biden hates the UK.”
The clip shows Democrat Biden on the campaign trail being asked by a journalist for a ‘quick word for the BBC’ before replying ‘the BBC? I’m Irish’ and moving away.
Farage then tweeted: ‘As you can see from this clip, Biden hates the UK.
‘The Conservatives had 4 years to do a trade deal with the USA and pro-UK President, and they failed. There is no chance now.’
Last December Biden blasted Johnson for being a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump.
Amidst Britain’s general election Biden told a fundraiser in San Francisco: “You’re going to see people saying: ‘My God, Boris Johnson, who is kind of a physical and emotional clone of the president, is able to win.’”