THE UK government is not frightened of leaving the European Union without a trade deal, according to the top Brexit negotiator.
Sir David Frost told the Mail on Sunday that the UK will not “blink first” in what will be the eighth round of discussions due to start next week in London with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, and is “fully ready” for an “Australian-like trading agreement” if it comes to that.
The UK will leave the transition period at the end of December “come what may”, Sir Frost insisted.
His comments come after informal talks between Sir Frost and his EU counterpart last week failed to produce any breakthrough.
As it stands there remain significant differences between the two sides on several key issues, notably fishing and Government subsidies for businesses.
Sir Frost was more than a little disparaging about the efforts of Teresa May’s administration on Brexit negotiations.
“We came in after a government and negotiating team that had blinked and had its bluff called at critical moments, and the EU had learned not to take our word seriously”, he told the newspaper.
“So a lot of what we are trying to do this year is to get them to realise that we mean what we say and they should take our position seriously.”
He made his view clear that the UK is not prepared 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 in to the way the EU do things”, he emphasized.
The 55-year old former diplomat said that a nation wanting control over its finances and affairs “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,” he said.
“I don’t think that we are scared of this at all”, he added.
“We want to get back the powers to control our borders and that is the most important thing.”