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Live Reporting

Kate Whannel, Katie Wright and Richard Morris

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    BBC Politics

    That's all from us for now.

    We'll pop up again later this evening to take you through any developments from the PM's dinner in Brussels with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, which is due to start around 19:00 GMT.

    We don't know what the outcome of their talks will be tonight, but we do know they have the same 'menu' in front of them as they did when the spoke on the telephone earlier this week.

    And so far they've found their differences over a Brexit deal hard to digest. (Ok, we'll stop with the terrible food puns now).

    And as our political editor Laura Kuenssberg explains here it is certainly "more than a standard diplomatic dinner".

    Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen outside No 10 in January
    Image caption: Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen outside No 10 in January

    Our team with you this afternoon were Kate Whannel, Katie Wright and Richard Morris, with Johanna Howitt in the editor's chair.

    Thanks for following along with us. We hope you'll come back to join us later.

  2. Reality Check

    What are the sticking points in the Brexit talks?

    The post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU are going down to the wire, and need to make progress in the next few days if a deal is to emerge before the end of the year.

    But the negotiators appear to have hit a brick wall on some fundamental issues.

    • The’ level playing field’ - this disagreement is over the extent to which the UK will follow EU rules, for example on government support for businesses and industry and workers’ rights, once it has left the transition period
    • Governance - the two sides need to agree how any deal will be enforced and how disputes will be resolved
    • Fishing - The UK wants its fishermen to have rights to all the fish in its waters, whereas the EU wants to maintain the quota system that shares these fish among member states

    Our Reality Check team look at the issues in detail here

    Boris Johnson with a fish
  3. What is an Australia-style trade deal?

    Chris Morris

    BBC Reality Check

    The prime minister has repeatedly talked about leaving the European Union with an Australia-style deal – if he can’t reach a trade deal with the EU - and he did so again at Prime Minister’s Questions today.

    What an ‘Australia-style’ arrangement means is no deal with the EU on free trade, no agreement on removing tariffs (or taxes) on goods crossing borders, and having to rely on the basic rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    Other countries – including the United States – trade with the EU on WTO terms, but they also have a variety of separate agreements easing trade in various sectors of the economy (as does Australia).

    The UK would not have any such agreements if talks with the EU break down.

    Australia itself has been negotiating a free trade deal with the EU since 2018, but it does far less trade with the EU than the UK does.

    You can read more about this here.

  4. Brexit talks head to Brussels

    Video content

    Video caption: PMQs: Johnson and Leigh on UK-EU post Brexit trade talks

    As we wrap up our coverage of events in the Commons this afternoon, all eyes in Westminster will now begin to move their gaze to the talks this evening in Brussels.

    Boris Johnson will have dinner tonight with EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. The dinner is expected to begin at 19:00 GMT.

    The PM and Mrs Von der Leyen will work through a list of the major sticking points in the Brexit talks.

    At PMQs earlier, Mr Johnson told MPs "a good deal is still there to be done". But he suggested the EU could not accept the UK having sovereign control over its fishing waters after Brexit..

    Time is running out to reach a deal before 31 December, when the UK stops following EU trading rules.

    Read more on tonight's talks here.

  5. Will businesses continue to receive support?


    Conservative Simon Hoare - who chairs the Common's Northern Ireland Committee - closes the session with the final question to Mr Gove.

    He congratulates him for protecting the Good Friday Agreement and upholding the rule of law.

    He asks for assurances that during the grace period, businesses will be supported and helped through the new customs regime.

    Michael Gove says concluding this agreement "is just one step" and the government needs to continue supporting businesses in Northern Ireland, "large and small" through the months ahead.

  6. Recap: Northern Ireland border deal will give supermarkets "grace period"

    Aerial view of Port of Belfast
    Image caption: Port of Belfast

    On Tuesday, the UK and EU reached an agreement on how the new Irish Sea border will operate after the UK leaves the current border arrangements on 31 December.

    Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has been outlining further details of the agreement reached with the EU on how the Northern Ireland part of the Brexit withdrawal deal - known as the Protocol - will work.

    Mr Gove told MPs supermarkets will be given a "grace period" to ensure food supplies from GB to NI do not face disruption.

    Read more here.

  7. Is it the government's fault that Honda has paused production in the UK?

    Honda plant

    Japanese carmaker Honda has warned that production at its Swindon plant will be disrupted, after transport problems caused a shortage of parts.

    Labour's Matt Western raises the paused production with Mr Gove, asking if this is the fault of the government or Honda.

    Mr Gove replies to say there is a "global problem in container traffic" which has been well-documented.

  8. Labour MP questions what businesses should be preparing for


    Labour's Chi Onwurah asks what deal businesses should be preparing for, because there is no clarity. She adds that small businesses are being affected by the pandemic already are now facing Brexit uncertainty.

    Much of what most small businesses need to do is "broadly the same" says Michael Gove. The fate and future of businesses in the North East are "very dear to me".

    He adds that these areas in the North East are now voting Conservative because "we stand up for workers".

  9. Tory MP urges government 'not to compromise on fishing, borders of laws'


    Conservative MP Marco Longhi seeks assurance that if there is a trade agreement "the government will not compromise on fishing, borders and laws".

    Michael Gove replies that he is "bang on".

    Another Conservative, Miriam Cates, wants to know that the government will keep in place the rest of the Internal Market Bill. She says it is important to ensure goods can flow across all four nations

    Michael Gove says the bill is a "critical law" which safeguards the rights of consumers and businesses. He says he hopes the bill will pass now the controversial clauses have been removed.

  10. Too much Brexit jargon?

    EU and UK flags outside parliament

    "Northern Ireland Protocol", "unfettered access", "withdrawal agreement".

    The Commons statement has been pretty jargon-heavy.

    If you are reading some of these terms for the first time - or just want to brush up on your Brexit chat - our jargon-busting guide might help.

  11. DUP MP urges Gove to take action to secure 'unfettered' NI-GB trade


    The DUP leader in Westminster Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says the Act of Union states there should be no barrier to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    He also says the Northern Ireland Protocol allows the UK government to take unilateral action if the Protocol leads to economic or environmental difficulties.

    He asks the government if it will take safeguarding measures to secure unfettered access in both directions for trade between GB and NI.

    Michael Gove replies that he hopes future issues can be resolved "through patience and pragmatic discussion".

  12. Will this agreement undermine Scotland and Wales?

    Commons chamber

    Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine asks if this agreement might end up being used to undermine Scotland's position within the UK union.

    Mr Gove says that Northern Ireland "is in a unique position within the UK" and that "the vast majority of people in the UK recognise that".

    He says it is important that the government recognises that there are unique things Scotland contributes to the UK economy.

    Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams says that what Northern Ireland has what Wales wants, "unfettered access" to the UK as well as the EU.

    He asks what steps have been taken by the government to avoid disruption.

    Mr Gove replies that the government has been working well with the Welsh government, to ensure that the busiest port in the UK, Holyhead, can "continue to prosper".

  13. 'Not a permanent arrangement but a series of grace periods'


    Labour MP and Brexit committee chair Hilary Benn worries that the deal reached is "not a permanent arrangement but a series of grace periods".

    He notes that food will be exempt from export health certificates for a period of three months while chilled meat will be allowed "for a period of time after which they might be prevented from moving from GB to NI".

    "What is going to happen after those dates?", he asks

    Michael Gove says the government has been working with supermarkets to ensure they are ready and some requested a grace period.

    "Those in the European Commission said it would not be possible... but we managed to secure three months which he says "is sufficient time to ensure supermarkets are ready".

    He adds that the deal will "ensure we provide people in NI with access to the food we currently enjoy without any disruption to the supply chain of supermarkets".

  14. Supermarkets given Brexit "grace period"

    Jayne McCormack

    BBC News NI political reporter

    Food in a supermarket basket

    Supermarkets will be given a "grace period" to ensure food supplies from GB to NI do not face disruption from 1 January.

    This will give supermarkets time to adapt their systems to deal with new Brexit checks required by the EU.

    It is part of the agreement reached between the UK and EU on how the new Irish Sea border will operate.

    The rules will apply regardless of whether the two sides can agree a trade deal.

    Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is outlining further details of the agreement reached with the EU on how the NI part of the original withdrawal deal, known as the Protocol, will work.

    He said the government had heard “loud and clear” the concerns of supermarket firms, and that “necessary additional flexibilities” would be made.

    From 1 January, Northern Ireland will stay in the EU single market for goods but the rest of the UK will leave.

    That means a proportion of food products arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain will need to be checked.

    The EU has strict rules on products of animal origin: meat, milk, fish and eggs.

    These products must enter through a border control post where paperwork is checked and a proportion of goods are physically inspected.

    Several supermarket chains had warned the supply of some products from GB to NI could be reduced, due to extra administrative burdens.

    The supply of medicines from GB to NI will also avoid disruption,

    Mr Gove said the government had delivered on its commitment to ensure unfettered access for NI firms shipping goods to the rest of the UK.

    “No additional requirements will be placed on NI businesses for these movements, with the very limited and specific exception of trade in endangered species and conflict diamonds,” he said.

  15. Gove: UK has proud tradition of upholding workers' rights

    Gove and Reeves

    Replying to Rachel Reeves Michael Gove says there will be "border facilities" to ensure "limited and proportionate" sanitary checks can be carried out.

    He says the government has spent £200m to support NI businesses.

    And he emphasises that "no additional customs checks which will be facing goods going from Northern Ireland to great Britain".

    On the issue of regulations, Mr Gove says the UK has "a proud tradition of upholding workers' rights".

    "That will not change," he says adding: "One thing we can't accept is the demand from some in the EU that if the EU adopts new laws we should automatically follow those laws."

  16. Labour: Threats to break international law 'dangerous'

    Labour's shadow minister Rachel Reeves says Labour "welcomes the statement" and is glad that there have been agreements reached on Northern Ireland.

    She says game-playing, with threats to break international law "is dangerous" and can lead to "destruction".

    Manufacturing NI has warned that just 9% of businesses are ready for Brexit, she adds.

    She asks why the documents show that trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will face checks, and there is only a grace period for three and a half years. She asks if additional customs checks will be required from April 2021, as alluded to in the documents.

    She says this is a "disgraceful way to treat businesses", especially during a pandemic.

    There are some in the Conservative Party who view any agreement with the EU as a "betrayal," she says, but losing jobs and businesses is a "betrayal to the British people".

    She asks once again how many customs agents will be ready on January 1st, and how ready border facilities are.

  17. Gove: No mini EU embassy in Belfast


    Michael Gove continues that firms in Great Britain will stay outside state aid rules "where there is no impact on NI-EU trade".

    He also says the deal ensures Northern Ireland will be out of the Common Agricultural Policy "so Northern Ireland has freedom to set own agricultural subsidies".

    And he says Northern Ireland service industries will be outside the scope of the Northern Ireland protocol.

    Mr Gove insists that there will be no "mini EU embassy in Belfast" and that EU officials will not be able to carry out checks themselves. However he says there will be data sharing between the UK and the EU.

    The Northern Ireland protocol can be implemented in a "pragmatic" way, he says, and adds that the people of Northern Ireland will be able to decide if the arrangements continue in the future.

  18. What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?

    Border road in Ireland

    Following Brexit, Northern Ireland's 310-mile border with the Republic of Ireland is the only land border between the UK and the European Union (EU).

    Under an arrangement known as the Northern Ireland protocol, goods will not need to be checked along the Irish border when the new UK-EU relationship begins on 1 January.

    Read our explanation of the Protocol here and why avoiding border checks so important

  19. Michael Gove confirms deal in principle with EU on Northern Ireland


    Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove starts by saying the UK government has worked this year to ensure that the Northern Ireland Protocol can be agreed with the EU.

    The protocol was a section of the Brexit withdrawal deal to protect trade across the border in Northern Ireland and the UK mainland.

    It said that goods will not need to be checked along the Irish border when the new UK-EU relationship begins on 1 January.

    Mr Gove starts by explaining that the Protocol set out objectives on trading.

    Mr Gove says yesterday the UK reached a deal in principle which allows the UK to reach those commitments, and which puts the people on Northern Ireland first.

    He says there will be no additional checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, unless it is rare and endangered species of animals.

    Northern Ireland businesses selling to consumers or trading between businesses will face no tariffs, he adds. This will happen whether there is a deal or not.

    There are additional flexibilities to protect supermarkets. There will be a grace period for supermarkets to implement new rules and trades.

    He says this is three commitments the UK government has held.

  20. Gove updates MPs on Northern Ireland border checks deal

    We'll turn now from PMQs to a statement from the Cabinet office minister Michael Gove.

    Yesterday Mr Gove brokered a deal with EU commissioner Maroš Šefčovič on how rules in the Brexit divorce deal will be implemented, particularly in relation to Northern Ireland.

    The government says an "agreement in principle" has been found for issues including border control posts and the supply of medicines.

    Mr Gove will update MPs on the details of the agreement - we'll bring you the key points he makes, and the MPs questions.

    Michael Gove and Maroš Šefčovič on Tuesday
    Image caption: Michael Gove and Maroš Šefčovič on Tuesday