Gove holds emergency Brexit talks today after Brussels' fury as trade discussions on verge of collapse
MICHAEL Gove is holding "extraordinary" emergency Brexit talks today to try and salvage hopes of a deal.
Discussions were on the verge of collapse yesterday after top EU bosses lashed out at the PM over a new law which would overrule the original agreement hashed out last year.
Mr Gove and top eurocrat Maros Sefcovic, who both sit on the EU-UK joint committee tasked with implementing the deal, will chair a meeting today to try and rescue a potential deal.
The European Commission's chief spokesperson Eric Mamer tweeted last night: "Following today's announcement by the UK, Maros Sefcovic will travel to London tomorrow to meet Michael Gove for an extraordinary meeting of the Joint Committee.
"The EU seeks clarifications from the UK on the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement."
Mr Sefcovic was furious over the draft legislation, published yesterday, which vowed to override "any other legislation, convention or rule of international or domestic law whatsoever, including any order, judgement or decision of the Europe Court or of any other court or tribunal".
The new bill carves out parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol for evaluation, and hands ministers the power to determine rules on state aid and goods moving from Northern Ireland to Great Britain instead of leaving EU technocrats with the reigns.
But No10 say it's only tying up loose ends if a deal can't be reached by the end of the year
Chief negotiators for the UK and the EU David Frost and Michel Barnier will meet in London again today for more talks.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted this week the plans "break international law in a very specific and limited way".
Mr Sefcovic said: "I made it very clear to him that the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation.
"We expect that the letter and the spirit of it will be fully respected. On that we have to be very clear."
He added No 10 was "fully aware what the lack of respect for the signed and ratified treaties might mean for the future".
"This is a matter of principle. Of course it has direct implications on the talks about our future relationship."
Boris Johnson has given EU bosses until October 15 to come up with a deal in time for the European Council meeting.
But he said the UK would "prosper mightily" even if there was no agreement.
One senior European source told The Times they believed the PM was "laughing" at them and had a no-deal plan in place where the UK would trade with the bloc on World Trade Organisation rules.
They said: "The constant references to the WTO is a signal ‘You can go to hell’. My gut feeling is that the British government has opted for no-deal."
Senior EU diplomats and officials held internal discussions over whether to ditch talks altogether, as chief negotiator Michel Barnier and David Frost, Britain's negotiator, met in London yesterday.
She said she was "very concerned about announcements from the British government on its intentions to breach the Withdrawal Agreement" and cast doubt over whether there could be a future relationship with the UK.
Ms von der Leyen added: "This would break international law and undermines trust.
"(The principle that agreements must be kept) equals the foundation of prosperous future relations."
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