Brexit news: UK to agree to EU and Michel Barnier demands to leave bloc three months early | Politics | News

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Brexiteers will be celebrating after it has been revealed negotiators are preparing to accept a shorter transitional period which would end on New Years Eve 2020, despite Theresa May originally requesting two years in her Florence Speech last September.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier said the cut off should be December 31, 2020, after he said the UK must “decide” what kind of Brexit it wants.

Now the UK is going to accept an exit timetabling suggested by Brussels rather than London.

A Whitehall source directly involved with the UK’s exit planning said: “The EU timetable is the working assumption and no one seems too upset by that.”

Former Cabinet Minister and ardent Brexiteers Iain Duncan Smith said: “The sooner we can get this done, the better.

“What everyone needs is certainty, not a ‘never-end-um.’”

The EU General Affairs Council agreed on Monday that any transition period should not last beyond December 31, 2020.

The council’s report was agreed in two minutes and states the UK must adhere to existing EU laws and regulations during the transition phase.

But the UK will have no say over EU legislation during this period.

The UK offered the EU up to £18billion in financial contributions for the transitional period and Whitehall is aiming to have the terms locked in by a summit in March.

But Mr Barnier said it was still in doubt unless the UK agreed to the conditions.

The hardline Frenchman said: “To be quite frank, if these disagreements persist, the transition is not a given.”

By leaving before 2021 the UK will avoid being dragged into another EU budget.

European Union budgets are set every seven years with the next spending plan due in 2021.

A Government source told The Sun that the new cut off “falls within the scope of around two years”.

Downing Street said the matter was still up for negotiation, but the PM’s spokesman said the UK and EU were “well aligned” on transition terms.

EU officials from a number of EU countries are believed to be angry by the negotiating stance taken by the Frenchman and are astonished by the hard-line he his taking in discussions with the UK.

There are reports that one official said they would “walk away and then see how the EU does without the money” if they were in Theresa May’s position.

The claims come just days after Mr Barnier threatened to reject a transitional deal with the UK unless David Davis and the Government gave in to EU demands on a transitional arrangement.

Speaking in London this week Mr Barnier said three “substantial” disagreements remain with the UK over plans for a transition period after Brexit.

He added: “If these disagreements persist the transition is not a given.

“To be frank I am surprised by these disagreements.

“The positions of the EU are very logical.”

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