Lord Frost insisted there was no hope of a post-Brexit trade deal unless the European Union hands back control of our borders, laws and coastal waters to the Government. His warning comes as his opposite number Michel Barnier is set to travel to London for face-to-face talks this evening. Lord Frost said: “I look forward to welcoming Michel Barnier and his team to London to resuming face-to-face talks tomorrow. We are glad all are safe and well.
“Some people are asking me why we are still talking. My answer is that it’s my job to do my utmost to see if conditions for a deal exist. It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it’s clear that it isn’t.
“But for a deal to be possible it must fully respect UK sovereignty. That is not just a word – it has practical consequences. That includes: controlling our borders; deciding ourselves on a robust and principled subsidy control system; and controlling our fishing waters.
“We look to reach an agreement on this basis, allowing the new beginning to our relationship with the EU which, for our part, we have always wanted.
“We will continue to work hard to get it – because an agreement on any other basis is not possible.”
Prime Minister Mr Johnson insisted he wasn’t threatened by the risk of failure because Britain would “prosper mightily” if the EU refuses to agree to his terms.
He insisted there was a deal on the table Mr Barnier would be able to sign and return to Brussels with.
Mr Johnson said: “The likelihood of a deal is very much determined by our friends and partners in the EU.
“There a deal to be done if they want to do it, which I think would benefit people on both sides of the Channel.
“But let’s be absolutely clear, this country can prosper and will prosper mightily in either event.
“If we have to come out with a so-called Australian-style model, or Australian relationship, with the EU, we will make a great success of it.
“Everybody is working very hard but clearly there are still substantial and important differences to be bridged, but we are getting on with it.”
But the logjam is expected to be continued with EU sources saying Downing Street must change its approach for there to be an agreement.
Mr Barnier was gloomy in his assessment of the chances of a returning from London with a Brexit trade deal.
He explained the two sides were still at loggerheads over post-Brexit fishing rights and common standards, including state aid rules.