'Large gaps' remain in Brexit negotiations as PM jets in for crunch talks

There are ‘big gaps’ between the UK and the European Union as they work towards reaching a Brexit deal, Downing Street said.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met for a dinner in Brussels tonight (Dec. 9) in an attempt to strike a deal.

During the crunch talks, over a three-hour dinner, the duo agreed that a “firm decision” about the future of the negotiations needed to be made before Sunday.

In a statement, a senior number 10 source said it was “unclear” whether the differences between the two sides could be bridged.

They said: “The Prime Minister and VDL had a frank discussion about the important obstacles that remain in the negotiations.

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“Very large gaps remain between the two sides and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged.

“The Prime Minister and VDL agreed to continue discussions between their negotiating teams in the coming days.

“The prime minister does not want to leave any route to a possible deal untested.

“The Prime Minister and VDL agreed that a firm decision must have been taken on the future of the talks on Sunday.”

In a statement after the meeting, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “We had a lively and interesting discussion about the state of play on the list of outstanding issues.

“We got a clear understanding of each other’s points of view. They stay far apart.

“We agreed that the teams should reunite immediately to try to resolve these critical issues.

“We will reach a decision by the end of the weekend.”

Earlier, Mr Johnson tweeted a photo of him boarding the plane to Brussels.

He said, “Much remains to be done.

“But whether we agree on trade arrangements similar to Australia or Canada, the UK will thrive as an independent nation.”