A breakthrough is needed in the “next few days” if talks with the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal are to succeed, a senior Government minister has warned.
Negotiations were resuming in Brussels on Sunday after Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen ordered a push to try to overcome the remaining differences.
The two leaders – who spoke for over an hour on Saturday in an attempt to break the stalemate – are due to hold a further phone call on Monday evening to assess whether an agreement is possible.
Environment Secretary George Eustice however warned the talks were in a “very difficult position” after what he said had been a series of “setbacks”.
He accused the EU of introducing “a whole load of additional demands” late in the day and insisting on “ludicrous” conditions on future fishing rights.
“It is in a very difficult position – there is no point denying that,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.
“We will continue to work on these negotiations until there is no point doing so any further but there is no point denying that what happened late last week was a setback.”
Speaking later on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show he added: “I think we probably are now in the final few days in terms of deciding whether there can be an agreement.
“Of course if the ambience warms up again and actually great progress is made and it is just about sorting out the detail, then you can always find more time, you can always extend.
“But I think unless we can resolve these quite fundamental divergences at the moment then we are going to have to take a position in the next few days.”