UK and EU agree to intensify talks in bid to secure Brexit trade deal

The UK and the European Union have agreed to “work intensively” to resolve the differences in the Brexit trade talks, Downing Street has confirmed.

Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen spoke via video conference on Saturday to take stock of progress in the negotiations following the final scheduled round of talks between Brussels and the UK this week.

The pair have tasked chief negotiators, Britain’s Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier, with intensifying the talks after acknowledging that “significant gaps remained” between the UK and Brussels.

The Prime Minister has set the deadline of the EU Council meeting on October 15 for securing a deal – only 12 days away.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “They agreed on the importance of finding an agreement, if at all possible, as a strong basis for a strategic EU-UK relationship in future.

“They endorsed the assessment of both chief negotiators that progress had been made in recent weeks but that significant gaps remained, notably but not only in the areas of fisheries, the level playing field, and governance.

“They instructed their chief negotiators to work intensively in order to try to bridge those gaps.

“They agreed to speak on a regular basis on this issue.”