Govt to hold morning press conference as Brexit trade deal expected overnight

The UK and EU could have Brexit trade deal agreed while talks continue overnight, with a press conference expected later in the morning.

The expected deal comes with only days left before the current trading agreements expire on December 31 – New Year's Eve.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a late-night call with Cabinet ministers to update them on the situation, reports PA.

European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer suggested an announcement could come early on Christmas Eve.

"Work will continue throughout the night," he said shortly after midnight.

"Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all Brexit-watchers at this point. It will hopefully be an early start tomorrow morning…"

The development came as Britain and the EU were believed to have made progress on resolving issues including fishing rights and the "level playing field" measures aimed at preventing unfair competition.

The UK side expected talks over the legal text of the deal – reportedly around 2,000 pages long – to continue into the early hours.

It the deal, as expected, provides for trade free from tariffs and quotas the economic shock of breaking away from the EU's single market and customs union will be softened.

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A deal covering the UK-EU trading relationship worth almost £670 billion will come as a relief to business leaders.

However, details of the deal will be closely scrutinised to see where either side has compromised.

Any deal Boris Johnson secures is likely to pass Parliament with Labour not expected to oppose the deal – Sir Keri Starmer has stressed that an agreement would be in the national interest.

The European Research Group (ERG) of hardline pro-Brexit Tory MPs said they would scrutinise any deal in great detail.

The ERG said it would reconvene its so-called "star chamber" of legal experts to examine the text.

A statement issued by the group on Wednesday said: "Given that the new agreement is also highly complex, the star chamber will scrutinise it in detail, to ensure that its provisions genuinely protect the sovereignty of the United Kingdom after we exit the transition period at the end of this year."

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