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Priti Patel says on Brexit: we’re in ‘tunnel’ of negotiations

LONDON: The United Kingdom will work flat out for a Brexit trade deal and negotiators are in “tunnel” negotiations but if a deal with the European Union is not possible then the country will be prepared, Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Thursday.

“First of all, the prime minister and the government, we’ve all been very clear we are not walking away, we will continue to negotiate to get this free-trade agreement,” Patel told LBC radio.

“You used metaphors: We are in that tunnel of negotiation and our teams continue to work incredibly hard,” Patel said.

The “tunnel” is a term for an intense final stage of secretive, make-or-break negotiations.

‘Buzz among MPs’

Britain and the European Union are heading towards a trade deal that will satisfy Brexit supporters, BBC Newsnight’s Political Editor Nicholas Watt had tweeted on Tuesday.

“Big buzz in the last hour among Tory MPs that the UK is heading towards a Brexit deal with the EU. Eurosceptics being reassured they will be happy,” he wrote on Twitter.

London’s mid-cap index also rose on Thursday as investors awaited a post-Brexit trade deal to avoid a messy exit for the UK from the European Union, while higher oil prices helped lift the commodity-heavy FTSE 100.

The domestically focussed FTSE 250 index, considered a barometer for Brexit sentiment, rose 0.3% and looked set to gain for a fourth straight session.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 added 0.4% as oil prices hit a nine-month high after a fall in U.S. inventory and on optimism over a U.S. stimulus package. [O/R]

Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell were among the biggest boosts to the index.

WPP, the world’s biggest advertising company, jumped 2.7% after saying it expected to return to its 2019 level of net sales by 2022.

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