The Prime Minister and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have “instructed their chief negotiators to work intensively” to find solutions for the differences that remain in the UK-EU trade talks, Downing Street said.

Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have agreed to intensify talks during a video conference call on Saturday after acknowledging that “significant gaps remained” between the UK and Brussels.

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A Downing Street spokesman said: “The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, spoke today about the state of play in the negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

“They agreed on the importance of finding an agreement, if at all possible, as a strong basis for a strategic EU-UK relationship in future.

“They endorsed the assessment of both chief negotiators that progress had been made in recent weeks but that significant gaps remained, notably but not only in the areas of fisheries, the level playing field, and governance.

“They instructed their chief negotiators to work intensively in order to try to bridge those gaps.

“They agreed to speak on a regular basis on this issue.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the virtual Conservative Party conference the UK will no longer be “held over a barrel by Brussels”.

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During his conference speech, he said: “Yes we want a free trade deal with the EU, but any deal must be fair.

“The days of being held over a barrel by Brussels are long gone.

“Under the Conservatives, there is no question: our Government will control our fisheries, our Parliament will pass our laws and our courts will judge them.”