BREXIT talks between the UK and European Union have been suspended after a member of the EU’s negotiation team tested positive for Covid-19.

The news comes just days after David Frost, the head of the UK negotiation team, told Boris Johnson to be ready to shake hands on a deal as early as Tuesday next week.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, announced the delay on Twitter.

He wrote: “Update: one of the negotiators in my team has tested positive for Covid-19.

“With @DavidGHFrost we have decided to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period. The teams will continue their work in full respect of guidelines.”

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Responding, Frost wrote: “I am close contact with @michelbarnier about the situation. The health of our teams comes first.

“I would like to thank the @EU_Commission for their immediate help and support.”

The softening of the Government’s position, which had been labeled “brinkmanship” by many observers including Ian Blackford, comes after the exit of Dominic Cummings from Downing Street and Joe Biden’s victory in the USA.

However a deal is not done yet. There have been warnings from figures in both the EU and the US that there will be no trade deals if the UK Government insists on pushing through the Internal Market Bill, which many have said threatens the peace in Northern Ireland.

The Government has been defeated twice in the Lords on some troublesome aspects of the bill, but ministers have said they will simply reinsert any clauses removed by that house.