Farage Predicts There Will Be an EU Trade Deal, But It Won’t Satisfy Many Brexiteers

HULL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 14: Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks during a Brexit Party general election campaign tour at Hull Ionians Rugby Union Football Club on November 14, 2019 in Hull, United Kingdom. Nigel Farage has previously announced that his party will not stand in 317 seats won …
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Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has predicted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will compromise with the European Union over a trade deal which might result in a soft Brexit, where the UK is still tied to some EU rules.

“I sense there will be a compromise,” Mr Farage told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday. “I sense there will be a deal before the end of the year, and it’s one that will not fully satisfy many Brexiteers.”

The remarks come after a high-level telephone conversation between Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday.

In a joint statement from Brussels and London, Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen “agreed on the importance of finding an agreement, if at all possible, as a strong basis for a strategic EU-UK relationship in future.

“They endorsed the assessment of both Chief Negotiators that progress had been made in recent weeks but that significant gaps remained, notably but not only in the areas of fisheries, the level playing field, and governance.

“They instructed their Chief Negotiators to work intensively in order to try to bridge those gaps.

“They agreed to speak on a regular basis on this issue.”

Mr Johnson told The Telegraph on Friday that he was “optimistic” about striking a free trade agreement with the bloc, saying the chances “are very good if everybody just exercises some common sense and looks at the deal that is there to be done”. He added that the UK would leave the EU’s institutions at the end of the transition period on December 31st, 2020, because “Brexit will be done under all circumstances”.

There are less than two weeks to go until the European summit on October 15th, the date that the prime minister pledged was a deadline for agreeing on a deal with the bloc.

In Saturday’s statement, there was no mention of this deadline, with The Guardian interpreting the remarks to mean that negotiations will be extended for another month, until November. Mr Johnson had already said in February that he would consider pulling the UK out of talks and prepare for a World Trade Organization (WTO) relationship with the EU if substantial progress had not been made by June.

However, sources speaking to The Times on Sunday said that Mr Johnson had made it clear to von der Leyen that October 15th remained the deadline for securing a deal, with talks to be intensified for the next 11 days.

The prime minister reportedly initiated the high-level call over concerns that Brussels would attempt to run down the clock, forcing the UK to back down on its demands at the last minute. “Time is very short,” Mr Johnson was said to have warned von der Leyen and indicated that the UK was ready to walk away and trade without a formal deal.

Mr Farage said on Sunday that if the Conservatives “completely drop the ball on Brexit” and the UK becomes trapped in the EU’s ‘level playing field’ rules, then “there are more battles to be fought” and he would make a full return to the political arena.

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