‘Robust, Strong Views’: UK Attorney General Fails to Make Breakthrough in Brexit Talks, 23 Days to Go

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The UK Government’s top lawyer told a television news crew as he returned to London from Brussels by train Wednesday morning that Brexit talks the night before had been “robust” — British English for an extremely heated shouting match.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, a Brexiteer and Queen’s Counsel who advises the government on legal matters travelled to Brussels Tuesday to try and negotiate a breakthrough on Brexit negotiations by agreeing a ‘break clause’ that would mean the United Kingdom couldn’t be permanently locked into European Union control without any means to unilaterally extract itself.

The meeting followed claims earlier in the week that he had all but given up on any hope to actually achieve meaningful change to the departure agreement — countered by a rebuttal from Downing Street that “The Attorney-General continues to pursue legally binding changes to the backsto… We will not however comment on the specifics of the negotiations at this critical stage.”

Speaking to a Sky News crew waiting for his arrival at Brussels Midi station before being ushered through a special door to the terminal, Cox said: “These are very sensitive discussions.

“We are into the meat of the matter now. We have put forward some proposals, very reasonable proposals. And we are now really into the detail of the discussion… I can’t reveal the discussions. These are private and confidential discussions.”

When pressed, Cox repeated his remark that negotiations were into “the meat of the matter”, and said: “Both sides have exchanged robust, strong views. And we are now facing the real discussions. Talks will be resuming soon.”

It is not clear what Cox’s claim that talks would be resuming means for Theresa May’s Brexit timetable, given there are now just four working days left until she is due to once again present her Brexit deal to parliament for ratification.

Given it was overwhelmingly rejected at the last vote, and attempts to improve the terms of the deal have persistently failed, it seems all but certain that Mrs May’s much-vaunted deal will fail to clear this hurdle also and put the United Kingdom on a path to either a complete unnegotiated withdrawal, or a delay to the fast-approaching March 29th Brexit day. A strong majority of members of Parliament opposed Brexit at the time of the 2016 vote, and insist Britain should not leave without a deal if at all, meaning the official Brexit date is now almost certainly to be postponed.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, citing sources familiar with discussions, reports that discussions were more than “robust”, but ended in stalemate and no progress made.

Cox’s remarks were followed by others by EU negotiator Michel Barnier at a press conference in Brussels, when he restated the European Union’s position that there was nothing left to discuss as nothing would change. The Fervent Europhile and arch-federalist said: “Discussions have been difficult and no solution has been identified to that is consistent with the withdrawal agreement, including the Northern Ireland protocol which, as you know, will not be reopened.”

Oliver JJ Lane is the editor of Breitbart London — Follow him on Twitter and Facebook



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