Brexit LIVE: Barnier in frantic race to publish key legal text after UK shows up EU

Meanwhile UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a stern response to Ursula von der Leyen after the EU Commission President ordered the UK to "make up its mind" on what it wants from Brexit talks. Speaking at the European Parliament after a meeting with MPs, Mr Barnier was questioned about the UK's plans to present a draft treaty text. In a strong hint the EU would do likewise, he said: "“It’s always useful, in this very short time, to work on legal text - on both sides. On both sides, on both sides.”

Mr Johnson has presented the EU chief with a detailed report of the first round of trade negotiations which took place in Brussels last week. The published document also references the mandate for talks on the future relationship and the 11 core topics including trade, fisheries and law.

In a statement released by Number 10, Michael Gove made it clear to the bloc the UK would “regain its economic and political independence in full”.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said: “Discussions in some areas identified a degree of common understanding of the ground that future talks could cover.

“In other areas, notably fisheries, governance and dispute settlement, and the so-called ‘level playing field’, there were, as expected, significant differences.”

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier is scrambling to get a legal text together for next week's meeting (Image: GETTY)

David Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator, also pointed the bloc towards the statement and insisted the UK would publish a legal text before the second round of talks on March 18-20.

The response from Downing Street comes after Ms von der Leyen acknowledged there were "differences in the approach”.

The EU chief shifted the blame towards the UK for the lack of progress and insisted Britain must decide whether it wanted access to the EU single market.

She said: "We are are aware that there are differences in the approach towards what scope should the future agreement have and what are - if I may say so - the rules of the game everybody has to abide to.

Brexit news

Brexit news: David Frost and Michel Barnier in Brussels last week (Image: GETTY)

"So it will be important that the UK makes up its mind - the closer they want to have access to the single market, the more they have to play by the rules that are the rules of the single market.

"If this is not the UK's choice then of course they will be more distant and it will be more difficult for the UK to access the single market.

"So I think it's up to the UK within the negotiations to think about the trade-offs they want to take into account."

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Brexit news: Ursula von der Leyen has called on the UK to 'make up its mind' (Image: GETTY)

5.40pm update: Devolved regions demand voice in EU trade talks

The UK Government must implement a "meaningful, comprehensive and transparent process" for the devolved administrations to influence Brexit talks.

A joint statement aimed at Downing Street was issued after a meeting in London.

Attendees included Scotland's Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell and Europe minister Jenny Gilruth, her Welsh counterpart Jeremy Miles, Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster and her deputy Michelle O'Neill.

They said they had not been given the role they hoped for in the first round of talks.

With the next round of discussions with the EU taking place next week, the devolved administrations called on Westminster to listen to the needs and interests of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The statement said: "Before the next round of negotiations later this month we agreed there must be a meaningful, comprehensive and transparent process for the devolved Governments to influence the UK's negotiating position - something that has clearly not happened so far.

5.20pm update: 

Piers Morgan has clashed with Remainers on a number of occasions - this included Labour leadership hopeful Keir Starmer as the ITV Good Morning Britain host dubbed his policy on Brexit a "threat to democracy".

The row came as MPs backed a bill aimed at blocking Prime Minister Boris Johnson from leaving the EU without a Brexit deal and potentially scuppering his Brexit plans.

But Piers Morgan took issue with this, hinting that a “Remainer Parliament" could be attempting to stop Brexit from happening at all.

In September, the GMB host put his questions to Labour Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, who campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU.

4.48pm update: 

Conservative MP George Freeman warned he will be voicing his concerns over Boris Johnson's Brexit "masterplan" at the 2020 budget announcement on Wednesday, after being sacked as a minister by the Prime Minister's team.

The former transport minister claimed to have been let go with two other members of the team after the decision of Boris Johnson's special adviser Dominic Cummings to push away anyone that could jeopardise his Brexit masterplan.

Speaking on BBC Politics Live, Mr Freeman claimed to be a big supporter of the Prime Minister's Brexit vision but that he feared Mr Cummings would backtrack on the UK's promise to "take back control" after leaving the EU.

The Tory MP said: “Three of us at the department of transport were moved out and I think that’s because Dominic Cummings and the team have got a masterplan, much of which I support actually, which is about infrastructure, science and treasury and fiscal stimuli to level up."

4.46pm update: 

Dan Wootton unleashed his frustration at "London liberal elites" attempting to stop Brexit from going ahead due to the coronavirus epidemic.

TalkRADIO host Dan Wootton took aim at author Jemma Forte who suggested the British Government should consider putting a hold on Brexit to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

While on the Jeremy Vine Show, Dan Wootton broke into a furious rant criticising another attempt from "Remoaners" to stop Brexit at any costs.

Mr Wootton argued Remainers were hoping to use coronavirus as the next plot to prevent Brexit from happening.

3.45pm update: 

Boris Johnson could be forced to delay Brexit as he steps up his fight against the coronavirus outbreak, a political expert has warned.

Mujtaba Rahman warned of three reasons why the Prime Minister will have to trigger a Brexit extension – a move which would see Britain still bound to paying into the EU coffers.

Mr Rahman, managing director for Europe at Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting firm, said Boris Johnson was under pressure over how the deadly coronavirus could affect UK-EU trade negotiations.

The political expert said the “tight timetable” for Brexit negotiations had been “aggravated” by the coronavirus outbreak.

3.30pm update: "Even more opportunities to trade with new partners"

Mr Sunak, who delivers his first Budget tomorrow, said: "This decade will provide even more opportunities for British businesses to export and trade with new partners across the world.

"The Government will support business to seize these opportunities and thrive on the world stage.

"This package - which is the highest level of export lending the Government has ever made available - will provide support to industries and regions across the country."

From the £5 billion pot being made available, £2 billion will be offered for exports that encourage green growth while £1 billion will be set aside for defence industry purchases, Number 11 confirmed.

As part of the extra funding, foreign investors hoping to start a business in the UK are also expected to have their visa applications supported by the Department for International Trade.

Mr Sunak will also look closer to home as well during his Budget, announcing £50 million worth of investment to improve accessibility to train stations.

3.20pm update: Sunak will use Budget to boost post-Brexit exports

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is aiming to boost post-Brexit exports for UK businesses by making £5billion of loans available in his forthcoming Budget.

Mr Sunak is set to hand over £5 billion to UK Export Finance (Ukef), the Government's export credit agency that provides loans to overseas buyers of British goods and services.

The Treasury said the money would help UK exporters to increase their global sales as Britain prepares for life outside the EU, with Mr Sunak helping to top up the purchasing power of those abroad by providing a competitive loan rate through Ukef.

The agency's role is to ensure exports do not fail due to a lack of available finance or insurance for those looking to buy up Britain's export offers.

It will be the largest increase ever handed to the Ukef, taking its lending power up from £3billion to £8billion.

1.30pm update: Brexit POLL: Should Brexit be delayed to focus on fighting the coronavirus outbreak?

Coronavirus has caused a global health crisis and focused the minds of Government’s around the world to try and contain the deadly virus, but should Brexit be delayed to focus on fighting the coronavirus outbreak? VOTE NOW.

Brexit in covers

Brexit in covers (Image: Daily Express)

11.40am update: Boris say the UK will not extend Brexit deadline due to coronavirus

Boris Johnson has dismissed the proposition of the Brexit transition period being extended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak across the world.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: "The talks are progressing exactly as planned.

“Both sides are very aware of the timetable that they are working to."

11.15am update: David Lammy claims it's national interest to stop Brexit due to coronavirus

David Lammy has called on Boris Johnson to "swallow his pride and put the national interest first" by delaying Brexit amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The MP for Tottenham wrote on Twitter: “The government can't negotiate the future of Britain's trade with the EU in a few months during what could well become a global coronavirus pandemic.

“Boris Johnson needs to swallow his pride and put the national interest first. That means agreeing an extension with the EU.”

READ MORE: Brexit DELAY: David Lammy claims it's national interest to stop Brexit due to coronavirus

10.45am update: Trade minister in US for talks with business leaders

Greg Hands, Minister for Trade policy is the the US ahead of trade talks between the UK and the US.

Mr Hands will meet business and industry leaders and Government representatives in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.

He said: “From Harrisburg to Harrogate, this deal will benefit people on both sides of the Atlantic.

It will scrap unnecessary red tape, bring more opportunities for businesses, lower prices and create better jobs in the UK and the US.

“Securing free trade deals will be a key driver in levelling up the UK, and a trade deal with our largest single trading partner will benefit every UK region and nation.

“I am delighted to be on the East coast this week to discuss our objectives ahead of the negotiations.”

10.00am update: FTSE makes gains this morning

London’s stock exchange has made gains following ‘black Monday’ which saw shares plummet across the world.

The FTSE 100 was up by around 2 percent in early trading this morning.

9.15am update: Brexiteers set up rival pro-Brexit lobby group

British Businessman John Mills has outlined the benefits of Brexit to UK firms following the launch of a pro-Brexit lobby group.

Mr Mills, the founder of consumer products company JML, along with John Longworth, the former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, have formed an Independent Foundation to provide an “alternative post-Brexit voice”.

Mr Mills wrote on Twitter: “Brexit is great for business.

“UK business is innovative, entrepreneurial and dynamic.

“Entrepreneurs see Brexit as a radical opportunity to expand and grow!

“This group is an antidote to the gloomy cynics!”

Brexit news

Brexit news: A timeline of Brexit until January 1, 2021 (Image: EXPRESS)

8.50am update: Iain Duncan Smith outlines why the UK has the ‘power’ over the EU in trade talks

Iain Duncan Smith has brilliantly outlined why the UK now has the upper-hand in trade negotiations with the European Union.

The former Tory leader told TalkRADIO: “Before the election under Theresa May and more laterally under Boris Johnson no majority, the EU was always able to smile to itself because it knew that parliament would stymie the Government at almost every turn because they didn’t have a majority.

“So they would make demands and bare in mind also in the negotiations we went always to Brussels, you know we had to go over to them which was always a sign of weakness I always thought.

“Now it is different, having got the 80 majority it is suddenly dawning on the EU that actually the Government will for the most part get whatever it wants done, which means it has no fallback to parliament and therefore its all the negotiations.

“And point two now and that is they have to come to London and that is the key bit they are doing turn and turn about which puts the power back in London’s hands, back in our hands."

8.30am update: Chancellor to announce £8billion boost for export firms

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to increase the state loans available to export firms to £8 billion in a major boost to post-Brexit trade.

Mr Sunak said: “This decade will provide even more opportunities for British businesses to export and trade with new partners across the world.

“This package, which is the highest level of export lending the Government has ever made available, will provide support to industries and regions across the country.”

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