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Creed says Brexit trade deal by end of 2020 is 'wildly beyond credibility' but Gove 'confident' it can be done

Michael Gove said Simon Coveney “takes a different view” to those who dismiss the possibility of getting a trade deal sorted next year.

Updated Dec 15th 2019, 5:54 PM

pjimage - 2019-12-15T171326.340 Minister Michael Creed raised doubts that a Brexit trade deal can be done within a year but Michael Gove has said he's confident. Source: Rollingnews.ie/Sky

MICHAEL GOVE SAID he is “confident” of reaching a Brexit trade deal by 2020, despite recent reports of EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier saying this timeframe is “unrealistic”. 

In an interview with Sophy Ridge on Sky News earlier today, the Conservative Cabinet Office minister said trade negotiations between the UK and the EU would be concluded by the end of next year. 

“I’m confident that we will be able not just to leave the EU on 31 January, but also to conclude all the details of a new relationship in short order,” Gove said today.

This was flatly contradicted by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, who told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics it is “wildly beyond credibility that we will conclude a trade agreement in 12 months”.

Creed said the Brexit debate will now focus on the “bread and butter of the economic issues” once it turns to the future trade arrangements.

Singling out Ireland’s fishing communities, the minister said failure to negotiate a trade deal which would result in a hard Brexit would “have a catastrophic impact for us”. 

He said it had been made clear to Barnier’s taskforce that the “the outcome on fisheries is inextricably linked with the trade negotiations, not isolated on a silo basis”.

Similarly, Michel Barnier was recently recorded saying the UK’s 11-month timetable to complete trade talks by this date is “unrealistic” and suggests that negotiations will continue until long after. 

“We will not get everything done in 11 months. We will do all we can – we won’t do it all,” Barnier said in a recording obtained by the Independent newspaper. 

Speaking on this, Michael Gove said Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, “takes a different view”. 

“We’ll have concluded our conversations with the EU about the new framework of free trade and friendly cooperation that we will have with them by the end of next year,” said Gove.   

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The politician said there will be a Queen’s Speech soon which will outline legislation about investment in the NHS. 

He also said the government will be voting on Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement in a “short time period”, but did not confirm a specific date. 

With reporting from Sean Murray

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