Michael Gove says chance of Brexit deal 'less than 50%'

17 December 2020, 16:13 | Updated: 17 December 2020, 16:55

Michael Gove has said the chance of a Brexit deal is "less than 50%"
Michael Gove has said the chance of a Brexit deal is "less than 50%". Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Cabinet Office Michael Gove has said he believes the chances of an agreement with the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal are "less than 50%".

Giving evidence to the Commons Brexit Committee, Mr Gove said the "most likely outcome" was that the current transition period would end on December 31 without a deal.

"I think, regrettably, the chances are more likely that we won't secure an agreement. So at the moment less than 50%," he said.

Mr Gove also said that while the negotiations with the EU had made progress, "significant" differences between the two sides remained.

"The process of negotiation has managed to narrow down areas of difference. It is certainly the case that there are fewer areas of difference now than there were in October or indeed July," he told the Commons Brexit Committee.

"The areas of difference are still significant and they do go to the very heart of the mandate which the country gave the Government in 2016."

Alok Sharma hopes for deal before December 31

He told the Committee that the Government will not seek to negotiate a fresh trade agreement with the EU next year if they cannot reach a deal before the end of the Brexit transition period.

The Cabinet Office minister told the Commons Brexit Committee that December 31 was a "fixed point in law," when the transition must end.

"That would be it. We would have left on WTO (World Trade Organisation) terms," he said.

"It is still the case of course that there would be contact between the UK and European nations and politicians as one would expect.

"But what we would not be doing is attempting to negotiate a new deal."

SNP MP ordered to leave House of Commons after Brexit protest

Michel Barnier said today that there has been "good progress" in talks on a post-Brexit trade deal but the "last stumbling blocks remain."

The European Union's lead negotiator has been holding talks with the UK team led by Lord Frost in an effort to reach a late deal before the current arrangements expire at the end of the year.

Mr Barnier briefed European Parliament leaders about the state of the talks, which he said were in the "final stretch".

He said: "We will only sign a deal protecting EU interests and principles."

The talks were given the green light to continue on Sunday following a meeting between Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

But time is running short for a deal to be reached by negotiators, backed by national leaders and then approved by MPs and MEPs.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Spanish police reportedly carried on searching for the missing teen despite publicly calling off the search

How Spanish police 'discreetly' continued looking for Jay Slater's body after publicly calling off search

Live
The remains were found near Jay Slater's holiday rental

Live updates: Body found in Jay Slater hunt - Police recover young man's remains from village cliffside

Jay Slater Tenerife timeline: Hunt for missing British teen Jay Slater enters fifth day - here's what we know

Timeline of Jay Slater's disappearance: Everything we know as remains are found 29 days after he went missing

Human remains were found by police looking for missing Jay Slater

Human remains found 'in a very inaccessible area' by police searching for missing 19-year-old Jay Slater

Police have launched a new search for the body of Muriel McKay

'This is our last chance': Police launch new search to find Muriel McKay's body

Flight carrying hungover England fans from Euros makes emergency landing after 'undefined smell' wafts through cabin

Flight carrying hungover England fans from Euros makes emergency landing after 'undefined smell' wafts through cabin

The Prince and Princess of Wales have issued a new image

William and Kate hail 'inspirational' England team as they share photo of Charlotte and Louis watching Euros final

Married school chaplain banned from teaching over illicit relationship with ‘very vulnerable’ student

Married school chaplain banned from teaching over illicit relationship with ‘very vulnerable’ student

'Terrible shot': Trump gunman Thomas Matthew Crooks

Would-be Trump assassin tried to join school shooting club but was rejected for being a ‘comically bad’ shot

England manager Gareth Southgate leaving the team hotel in Berlin, Germany

They're coming home: Forlorn Gareth Southgate and England squad leave Berlin hotel after Euro's heartbreak

Thomas Matthew Crooks pictured in his high school year book from 2022

Thomas Matthew Crooks: Everything we know about the Trump gunman described as a 'bullied loner’

King Charles has sent a private letter to Donald Trump after he was shot in the ear

King Charles sends private message of support to Donald Trump after former president survives assassination attempt

Gareth Southgate after England's defeat against Spain

Gareth Southgate tipped for new honour as his future remains in the balance following Euro's heartbreak

Jay Slater's mother condemns 'vile' conspiracies in statement a month on from teen's disappearance in Tenerife

Jay Slater's mum slams 'vile' conspiracies a month on from teen's disappearance - as new search team land in Tenerife

Tributes have been paid to Shannen Doherty after her death from cancer aged 53

Tributes paid to Beverly Hills 90210 star Shannen Doherty as she dies aged 53 following breast cancer battle

The victims are named as Albert Alfonso, 62, and Paul Longworth, 71 (middle and right)

Pictured: Two men, 62 and 71, whose remains were found in suitcases in Bristol