Boris Johnson says 'good deal still to be done' as he jets to Brussels for last-ditch trade talks

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener

Boris Johnson has said a "good" post-Brexit trade deal is "still there to be done" as he jetted off to Brussels for last-ditch trade talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The prime minister is hoping face-to-face discussions can salvage a trade deal with the EU after chief negotiators from both sides were unable to reach an agreement on fisheries, the so-called level-playing field and governance of the deal.

He's warned that this evening's talks could end without any agreement being reached but claimed the UK "will prosper mightily as an independent nation" whether or not a deal is reached.

At PMQs, the prime minister provided a glimmer of hope that he and Ms von der Leyen could find some consensus when they meet on Wednesday evening for a dinner aimed at breaking the deadlock.

He said: "The UK will benefit from a very strong trading relationship with our friends and partners across the channel whatever the circumstances, whatever the terms we reach tonight."

His spokesperson said "political" progress must be made at the dinner in order for their appointed negotiators - Lord Frost for the UK and Michel Barnier for the EU - to resume talks.

The two negotiators and a "handful of other officials from both sides" will join Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen at the dinner, at which the "main issues" of fisheries, level playing field and governance will be discusses.

The PM's press secretary Allegra Stratton said Mr Johnson "feels that there is a good deal to be done but he and von der Leyen both believe that there needs to be some political momentum now".

She added: "The Prime Minister is going to be clear this evening that he cannot accept anything that undermines our ability to control our laws or control our waters."

Mr Johnson set out the main problems he has with the EU's position, although he said "a good deal is still there to be done".

Mr Johnson said: "Our friends in the EU are currently insisting that if they pass a new law in the future with which we in this country do not comply or don't follow suit, then they want the automatic right to punish us and to retaliate.

"Secondly, they are saying that the UK should be the only country in the world not to have sovereign control over its fishing waters.

"I don't believe that those are terms that any prime minister of this country should accept."