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Brexit talks followed common pattern but barrier-raising outcome is unique

Analysis: perils of walking away mean it is no great surprise Boris Johnson, for all his threats, has opted for deal

In most respects, the Christmas Eve deal between the UK and the EU followed the usual pattern of trade talks down the ages. The negotiations seemed to go on for ever, they often teetered on the brink of collapse, and they were only rescued when the politicians got involved.

Sometimes, the gap between the two sides is simply too big, but that never looked likely in this case. There was always going to be a point when Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen would step in and make the necessary compromises.

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