Ever the opportunist, Gove now sees Coronavirus as 'leverage' in Brexit talks. Copied from Guardian article:
Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, has been giving evidence to the Commons Brexit committee. Here are some of the main points so far.
Gove claimed that the coronavirus crisis could increase the chances of the UK and the EU striking a trade deal this year because it should “concentrate the minds of EU negotiators”. Responding to a question from Hilary Benn, the committee chairman, about whether the coronavirus crisis altered the chances of the UK and the EU negotiating a trade deal by the end of this year, Gove said:
"I think the Covid-19 crisis, in some respects, should concentrate the minds of EU negotiators, reinforcing the vital importance of coming to a conclusion."
He also said that reaching a deal by the end of the year was “entirely possible”. He described the statement put out by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, at the end of last week’s round of negotiations as “relatively downbeat” (an understatement - you can read it here) and he said he thought the odds on a deal being struck were 2 to 1.
He refused to say whether the UK still planned to walk away from the talks if it had not made good progress towards a deal in June. Asked about this, he said he did not want to pre-empt the government’s response.
He signalled that David Frost, the PM’s chief Europe adviser, would be willing to give evidence to the committee.