Britain will not turn out to be “a client state” under the terms of any post-Brexit commerce deal struck with the European Union, the United Kingdom’s chief negotiator David Frost insisted late on Saturday.
Ahead of an eighth and last round of scheduled talks with the EU next week, Frost said Britain was once “not going to compromise on the fundamentals of having regulate over our own laws”.
“We don’t seem to be going to be a client state,” he told the Mail on Sunday in a infrequent newspaper interview, as the stalled negotiations with the bloc close their conclusion.
“We don’t seem to be going to accept provisions that give them regulate over our money or the way we will be able to organise things here in the United Kingdom and that are supposed to not be controversial,” Frost added.
“That’s what being an independent country is approximately, that’s what the British people voted for and that’s what’s going to happen at the end of the year, somehow.”
Britain formally left the EU in January, almost four years after a landmark referendum to end nearly 50 years of European integration.
But it remains bound by EU rules until the end of this year as both sides try to thrash out the terms of their future relationship.
The talks have turn out to be gridlocked over several issues, including so-called level playing field provisions and state aid in addition to fisheries.
Time is running out for both sides to succeed in agreement, provided the need for the deal and legitimate texts to be scrutinised by member states and ratified by the European parliament.
The impasse has heightened fears of a no-deal Brexit after December 31, when much of the commerce between Britain and the bloc could revert to World Commerce Organisation (WTO) rules and tariffs.
Alternatively, Frost insisted Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his senior ministers don’t seem to be “scared” of this kind of scenario.
“Whether we will be able to reach an agreement that regulates commerce like Canada’s, great. Whether we will be able to’t, it’ll be an Australian-like trading agreement and we are fully in a position for that,” he said.
Referring to several years of prior negotiations, Frost said the preceding UK government led by ex-premier Theresa May “had blinked and had its bluff called at critical moments” all the way through Brexit talks — a mistake they would not be making.
“A large number of what we are trying to try this year is to receive them to realise that we intent what we say and they will have to take our position seriously,” he added.