/Brexit LIVE: Brussels admits fear no deal Brexit would pour salt on the wounds

Brexit LIVE: Brussels admits fear no deal Brexit would pour salt on the wounds

EU trade commissioner, Phil Hogan admitted a no deal Brexit would “pour salt on the wounds” in an interview for the Irish Times. Boris Johnson will reportedly set up a new taskforce in N0 10 to spearhead talks with Brussels. The UK is set to leave the EU next month and Mr Johnson wants a team which will decide the UK’s future relationship and trading agreement with the trade bloc. According to The Mail on Sunday, the team will be led by the Prime Minister and his Europe adviser, David Frost. 

The creation of “Taskforce Europe” coincides with the dissolving of the Department for Exiting the European Union.

On the continent, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, insisted an extension to the transition period is still possible despite Mr Johnson’s previous claims. 

Ms von der Leyen said: “It would be reasonable to evaluate the situation mid-year and then, if necessary, agree on extending the transition period.”

The transition period can be extended by July 1 and can last until 2022. 

However, Mr Johnson’s withdrawal agreement did include legal parameters to stop Parliament from voting on such a measure. 

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Brexit LIVE: EU fears

Brexit LIVE: EU fears (Image: GETTY)

9.56am update: Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings’ alliance

Mr Foster also questioned whether the alliance will continue to “reap the rewards” for the pair. 

Although Mr Johnson now has a 86-seat majority, the problem of imposing a new border in Ireland may be unworkable. 

Mr Foster wrote: “The unanswered question for 2020 and beyond is whether Boris Johnson and his man Mr Cummings will continue to reap the political dividend from this victory or if the triumph of 2019 turns out to be shortlived/superficial.

“Because those of us that railed about the non-viability of a new North-South trade border imposed without the consent of nationalist communities living on that border might also fret about a west-east border imposed without consent on Unionists.”

9.22am update: Dominic Cummings prepared “to force through no deal”

Tweeting today, The Daily Telegraph’s, Europe editor, Peter Foster has written a thread analysing the upcoming Brexit negotiations. 

Within his analysis, Mr Foster insisted the Prime Minister’s adviser, Dominic Cummings was prepared to “force through a no deal Brexit”. 

With his new majority, Mr Foster wrote of how during the previous negotiations, Mr Johnson and his team were angling for a new border on the island of Ireland. 

He added: “Dominic Cummings, after all, was prepared to force through a ‘no deal’ Brexit without any provision for the direct rule legislation that would have been needed to stabilise NI in the event of a ‘no deal’ given the Stormont Executive wasn’t sitting.”

8.27am update: ‘Salt on the wounds’ 

EU trade commissioner, Phil Hogan, has spoken of the potential catastrophe of a no deal Brexit. 

He told the Irish Times: “A no-deal Brexit would pour salt into the wounds and risks dividing families, communities and regions.

“This is precisely what the UK does not need now.”

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