Brexit: EU and UK entering ‘last week or so’ of ‘substantive’ negotiations, says Dominic Raab

The EU and UK are entering “the last week or so” of “substantive” post-Brexit trade negotiations, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has told Sky News.

With the Brexit transition period set to end in little more than a month’s time, Mr Raab suggested talks might soon be reaching a conclusion.

However, he called on the EU to accept a “point of principle” on fisheries, which has so far been a key sticking point in reaching a deal.

“As we leave the transition, we are an independent coastal state – we’ve got to be able to control our waters,” he told Sophy Ridge On Sunday.

“We can talk about transitions and things like that and we recognise the impact it has on other countries around Europe.

“But that principle comes with sovereignty, comes with leaving not just the EU but the transition period.

“I think the answer is, can the EU accept that point of principle that comes with us leaving the political club?”

Mr Raab appeared to reject what is reported to have been the EU’s latest offer on fishing – to return between 15-18% of fish stocks currently caught by EU fleets in British waters.

He said: “Does that sound right? 18% of control over fish in our own waters. That can’t be right.”

Asked if a possible deal could collapse over the issue of fisheries, Mr Raab added: “I think it’s important the EU understand the point of principle.

“If they show the pragmatism, the goodwill and the good faith that, in fairness, has surrounded the last leg of the talks – and certainly we’ve shown our flexibility – I think there’s a deal to be done.”

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