Brexit tade talks between Britain and the EU enter crucial final stretch
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in precautionary self-isolation on Monday after contact with a lawmaker who tested positive for COVID-19. The news comes during what could prove the last leg of Brexit talks in Brussels. “Our red lines haven’t changed and we’re preparing for whatever the outcome is,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told UK broadcaster Sky. “Of course our preference is to get a deal and that is open to the Europeans if they choose to make the progress that’s needed,” he said. Britain left the EU as a political institution in January, but its trading ties to the bloc are yet to change in any meaningful way. The two sides are trying to seal a long-term deal on future trading terms before a transition period expires at the end of the year. The last-ditch talks have ran well past the two sides’ original planned deadlines. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney estimated on Monday that barely a week remained to strike an accord. “We really are in the last week to 10 days of this, if there is not a major breakthrough over the next week to 10 days then I think we really are in trouble and the focus will shift to preparing for a no trade deal and all the disruption that brings,” Coveney told Ireland’s Newstalk radio station.