Michael Gove tells LBC 'significant political shove' is needed in Brexit negotiations

9 December 2020, 10:28 | Updated: 9 December 2020, 10:34

By Maddie Goodfellow

Michael Gove has told LBC that he hopes Boris Johnson's trip to Brussels and last-ditch bid to make a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations will provide a "significant political shove".

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Mr Gove was asked: "What do you hope emerges from Brussels later today?"

I hope that we'll get a significant political shove to the process and I hope there will be a realisation on the part of the EU side that they do need to move," he responded.

"I know that President Ursula von der Leyen has a good relation ship with Boris and I therefore thik that over the hours that they'll be together she will want to understand exactly where movement needs to come.

"And then of course it comes to the individual EU member states in realising and coming to terms with the changes that do need to be made.

Boris Johnson will fly to Brussels on Wednesday to try to reach a breakthrough on a post-Brexit trade deal over dinner with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The Prime Minister and the EU chief will continue their talks in person after the UK Government dropped controversial plans that would have allowed ministers to break international law.

Nick then questioned the cabinet minister over this issue of fish, saying "it is such a small part of GDP, why is it such a totemic issue?"

"It's a very big issue for lots of countries," Mr Gove explained. "It's a very small part of GDP for the Netherlands and Denmark also, for example.

"But it matter sin this country because we want to have full control of our waters.

"Countries like Iceland and Norway have control over their waters, and we want to be in a position where we can look after our seas in a way that is environmentally progressive."

Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned on Tuesday that EU foreign ministers that he now believes a no-deal departure is more likely than a trade agreement being brokered in time.

But both sides have set the stage for a potentially make-or-break meal in the EU Commission's Berlaymont headquarters on Wednesday.

In a statement, Downing Street said: "The PM will travel to Brussels tomorrow for dinner with VDL to continue discussions on the future relationship between the UK and the EU."

Ms von der Leyen said that "I look forward" to welcoming Mr Johnson on Wednesday evening, adding: "We will continue our discussion on the Partnership Agreement."

No 10 hopes the dinner could pave the way for talks between negotiators Mr Barnier and his Downing Street counterpart Lord Frost to resume, but there were warnings there would not be a compromise on sovereignty.

A UK Government source said: "It's clear that some political impetus will be required for the talks to make any more progress.

"If we can make progress at a political level it may allow Lord Frost and his team to resume negotiations over the coming days.

"But we must be realistic that an agreement may not be possible as we will not compromise on reclaiming UK sovereignty."