Hopes for a deal on the Protocol are crushed as Cleverly warns of “tough challenges” with stubborn EU.

Hopes for a deal on the Protocol are crushed as Cleverly warns of "tough challenges" with stubborn EU.

Hopes of a breakthrough in Brexit talks have been dashed, as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has warned that the UK faces “tough challenges” ahead.

Mr Cleverly denied recent reports that the UK and the EU are “not worlds apart” when it comes to fixing the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol, saying he doesn’t “want people to run away with the idea that we are just on the cusp of some amazing breakthrough”.

Tory MP Bob Seely asked Mr Cleverly: “When Mr Sefcovic was here addressing the UK/EU partnership assembly… he was being fairly robust that the protocol has to be adhered to.

“And we’re both looking at each other saying, that’s not where we think we currently are.

“So I think your assessment is right, I think the list of challenges – I don’t think it’s a very long list – but they are tough challenges.”

He added: “I’m just trying to make sure we manage expectations.

“I don’t want people to be defeatist but I also don’t want people to run away with the idea that we are just on the cusp of some amazing breakthrough that was there all the time, if only we had looked a little bit harder.

“There are some real challenges which need to be overcome.”

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Source: Brexit breakthrough hopes dashed as Cleverly warns of ‘tough challenges’ with stubborn EU

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