Follow live updates below as talks set to resume this week
Brussels fears the British government will reject its offer to scrap 80 per cent of checks on goods entering Northern Ireland, after the bloc went the “extra mile” to find a solution to post-Brexit trade friction over the Irish Sea.
The EU said it was “preparing for the worst” over the issue as the UK studies the details of the proposal.
Although London has said it will look “seriously and constructively” at the bloc’s package, one likely sticking point is minister Lord Frost’s demand that the European Court of Justice (ECJ)’s jurisdiction be removed from the Brexit deal.
“Without new arrangements on governance the protocol will never have the support it needs to survive,” a British source told The Independent.
Meanwhile, João Vale de Almeida, the EU’s ambassador to the UK, told BBC2’s Newsnight that the bloc had gone “the extra mile” and had offered an “unprecedented” solution.
“Today we went to the limits of what we can do to address the problems of Northern Ireland because we care for Northern Ireland. These problems were caused by Brexit,” he said.
In our daily newsletter, Matt Mathers looks at the UK and the EU’s Brexit impasse and the warnings about potential toy shortages this Christmas.
EU and UK still divided on solutions to Brexit impasse and toy manufacturers warn of shortages at Christmas, writes Matt Mathers
Javid defends decision to publish GPs league table
Health secretary Sajid Javid has defended his decision to publish league tables for GPs, insisting that it is in the interests of transparency and does not amount to the “naming and shaming” of family doctors.
“It is important that patients have this information because I want to see a levelling up of healthcare throughout the country,” he told Sky News.
Mr Javid hopes the plan will boost face-to-face GP appointments.
Adam Forrest reports:
Health secretary accused of ‘stirring up anti-GP rhetoric’ as he sets out plan for leagues tables
British government’s ‘hardline speeches’ on EU ‘not helpful’, says Drakeford
It is “not helpful” when British minister give hardline speeches criticising the Brexit deal their government signed, Mark Drakeford has said.
The first minister of Wales made the comment on Thursday, after meeting Joao Vale de Almeida, the EU ambassador to the United Kingdom, yesterday. He said the bloc’s offer on the Northern Ireland protocol was a “practical” attempt to solve trade friction at the Irish border.
“I don’t think it’s helpful when UK ministers make hardlined speeches drawing red lines criticising the deal that they themselves had signed,” he told Sky News.
“So from a Welsh point of view, what we’ve always asked for is for people to be around the table, for people to be pragmatic, for people to be looking for where they can agree, rather than constantly setting out red lines about where they are not prepared to agree.”
What has the EU proposed on Northern Ireland?
For those who missed it, here’s Jon Stone with an overview of the EU’s latest Brexit proposal:
EU Brexit chief Maros Sefcovic unveiled the proposals on Wednesday afternoon
British companies face severe recruitment crisis
British firms are suffering a severe post-Brexit recruitment crisis, a new survey has suggested.
More than nine in 10 employers in hospitality and catering are having difficulty finding staff, it found.
Jane Gratton, of the British Chambers of Commerce, urged the government to introduce targeted immigration measures to help companies.
“It’s clear that staff shortages are worsening, impacting on recovery and growth for manufacturers and services businesses alike,” she said.
“If action is not taken to address the mounting problems revealed by these data, then businesses will also face extreme difficulty in meeting demand and consumers will see further reductions in the goods and services available to them as we progress into winter.”
Our reporter Lamiat Sabin has the full story:
Almost all hospitality and catering firms cannot find enough staff, the poll suggests
Brussels ‘preparing for worst’ over Brexit offer
Brussels believes the UK will reject its offer to scrap 80 per cent of checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
One European diplomat said the proposed solution to post-Brexit trade friction was “unprecedented”, adding that the bloc could not offer anything more.
However, the UK has signalled that the proposal does not go far enough.
Christmas showdown looms as Brussels sets out plans to resolve Northern Ireland crisis by end of year
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage from Westminster and beyond.