LONDON, Sept 6, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Britain will not become “a client
state” under the terms of any post-Brexit trade deal struck with the
European Union, the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost insisted late on
Ahead of an eighth and final round of scheduled talks with the EU
next week, Frost said Britain was “not going to compromise on the
fundamentals of having control over our own laws”.
“We are not going to be a client state,” he told the Mail on Sunday
in a rare newspaper interview, as the stalled negotiations with the
bloc near their conclusion.
“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,” Frost added.
“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.”
Britain formally left the EU in January, nearly four years after a
landmark referendum to end almost 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 become gridlocked over several issues, including
so-called level playing field provisions and state aid as well as
Time is running out for both sides to reach agreement, given the
need for the deal and legal texts to be scrutinised by member states
and ratified by the European parliament.
The deadlock has heightened fears of a no-deal Brexit after December
31, when much of the trade between Britain and the bloc could revert
to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and tariffs.
However, Frost insisted Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his senior
ministers are not “scared” of such a scenario.
“If we can reach an agreement that regulates trade like Canada’s,
great. If we can’t, it will be an Australian-like trading agreement
and we are fully ready for that,” he said.
Referring to several years of prior negotiations, Frost said the
previous UK government led by ex-premier Theresa May “had blinked and
had its bluff called at critical moments” during Brexit talks — a
mistake they would not be making.
“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 added.