A MANUFACTURING and exporting region like the North-East does need to leave the European Union with a trade deal. The prospect of 10 per cent tariffs being applied to our cars is not appealing, and the average 48 per cent tariff on lamb meat is filling farmers with dread.

It is therefore to be hoped that the negotiators of both sides are really working this weekend, and not just going through the motions.

But the "dynamic alignment" of regulations that the EU is demanding, and which is a major stumbling block, does not seem especially fair. It would mean that if, in the future, the EU increases its standards, Britain would have to follow suit, or be hit by unilaterally imposed punitive tariffs. This seems to give Britain no choice but to continue following EU regulations even though we have left.

And yet no-deal Brexit would have profound implications, and would represent a failure for Boris Johnson who throughout his year of office has always promised a deal, oven-ready or not.

It seems ridiculous that two trading blocks separated by just 22 miles of sea and which actually touch on the island or Ireland cannot reach an agreement, and so will create all sorts of havoc on January 1 only, in all likelihood, to sit down and re-start negotiations in the New Year because they will both still want a deal.