The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warned that the timeframe for a deal defining the post-Brexit relationship with the EU by the end of 2020 is too short. Britain leaves the Union on 31 January, and the leaders are expected to agree on their future security and trade relations

in the transition phase, during which Britain will keep paying its membership fees.

“The transition time is very, very tight … so it is basically impossible to negotiate all that I have been mentioning, so we will have to prioritize,” she said at the London School of Economics, before meeting British PM Boris Johnson, who insists that Britain will not extend the transition period, and will not seek a deal based on an alignment with EU rules.

Von der Leyen suggested that progress in the talks should be reviewed before summer: “We might want to take a reconsideration of the time frame before July 1”.