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Jo Gideon, who became the first Tory MP to win the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat in the December 2019 election, has said she is optimistic a post-Brexit trade deal will be reached by October. Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said both Britain and the EU are showing “determination to find an agreement”. The Tory MP also said there were several signs both negotiating teams are starting to converge, which could indicate willingness to make concessions.
Ms Gideon told this website: “We’re three months away and historically these negotiations have always gone to the wire.
“I think that there are signs that the range of disagreements is narrowing and that bodes well.”
She added: “I think there is a will on both sides to keep going until we find an agreement that we can live with.
“We have moved a little on our position. It’s about nudging towards that agreement.”
When discussing the UK’s three red lines laid down by Mr Johnson, the MP urged British negotiators to ensure the UK’s fishing rights are maintained.
She said: “The fishing rights is a very politically sensitive area.
“It’s an emotional thing that we are an independent coastal nation and we have gained that right and with it the right to our waters and to decide what happens in our waters. For us it is deeply symbolic.
“We’ve said it is one of our red lines that we have to have control of our waters.”
Ms Gideon also reiterated the need for the UK to scratch out Brussels’ level playing field demand – which would leave the UK tied to EU rules and regulations.
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She said: “The reason we left was to take back control of our laws, our borders, our economy, and the level playing field it would undermine our ability to do that.”
Boris Johnson had originally planned for the trade talks to conclude by the end of July, but the two sides remain deadlocked on a number of key areas, including the two red lines highlighted above.
Instead, the Prime Minister said the negotiations must be wrapped up by October, to allow businesses sufficient time to prepare for the end of the EU transition period in December.
A Downing Street spokesman said last month: “Talks can’t go on into the autumn.”
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He added Mr Johnson was clear about “not wanting to be continuing having talks in October”.
The EU have also imposed a deadline of October 15, to allow sufficient time for the deal to be signed off by the European Parliament.
Last week David Frost, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, said a deal could be reached by September if the EU was prepared to make concessions.
Speaking at the end of the fifth round of formal talks with the EU, Mr Frost said: “It is unfortunately clear that we will not reach in July the early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement that was set as an aim [by Mr Johnson] on June 15… substantial areas of disagreement remain.”
Michel Barnier, Mr Frost’s EU counterpart, lashed out at the UK’s unwillingness to compromise.
He said: “This week, again the UK did not show a willingness to break the deadlock.
“But the EU cannot accept and will not accept the bill for the UK’s political choices.”
The next formal round of negotiations will start on August 17.
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