The UK's Brexit Negotiator David Frost Says He Is “Serious” About No-Deal As Faith In The Talks Recedes
The UK and the EU are set to meet for the latest round of talks this week (PA)
The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has said the UK is not “scared” of ending the transition period without an EU trade deal ahead of the latest round of talks.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, David Frost said that Theresa May’s administration had "blinked and had its bluff called", meaning that “the EU had learned not to take our word seriously”.
But Mrs May’s former chief of staff Gavin Barwell dismissed this analysis on Twitter, saying Lord Frost’s comments showed “brass neck” as the current agreement was “95% the work of his predecessors”.
The two sides are set to meet for the eighth time on Tuesday with only months to go until the UK formally leaves the bloc on 31 December.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s negotiator, has warned that any deal must be finalised by the end of October for it to be implemented in time for the new year but hopes that this deadline will be met are fading.
Recent negotiations ended without a breakthrough as both parties failed to make progress on major sticking points including fisheries, governance and the so-called “level playing field”.
EU sources told The Guardian earlier this week that expectations for the coming week’s talks were “extremely low” amid reports that EU leaders would not intervene in the deadlock at a summit later this month.
But Lord Frost said on Sunday that the bloc needed to accept the areas in which the UK was unwilling to compromise.
He said: “We are not going to be a client state. We are not going to compromise on the fundamentals of having control over our own laws.
“We are not going to accept level playing field provisions that lock us into the way the EU do things; we are not going to accept provisions that give them control over our money or the way we can organise things here in the UK and that should not be controversial – that’s what being an independent country is about, that’s what the British people voted for and that’s what will happen at the end of the year, come what may.”
And, speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the coming’s weeks talks would be “a wake-up call for the EU side”.
He continued: “We can't accept that the EU will control our laws. That's the reason we're leaving. No other country goes into free trade negotiations with the EU or with anyone else on that basis and the EU wouldn't accept that if we insisted on it.”
Also speaking on Sunday, Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney said Britain needed to accept that it was “unlikely” that a trade deal was going to be high among the EU’s priorities.
"Nobody wants to be paying tariffs or having unnecessary disruption to trade between the EU and the UK. But I do think that the way in which the British political system deals with Brexit is incredibly inward-looking," Mr Coveney told the Irish Sunday Independent.
"It's focused on British politics, it's driven by pride, emotion, nationalism, as opposed to the detail of what's required to get a trade deal and the compromises that are required to do that."