Tory Right-wingers accused the European Union of being “unreasonable” over trade talks today and claimed Boris Johnson may be better of walking out without a deal.
The threats came head of a keynote speech this evening by the PM’s chief negotiator David Frost, which will set out the UK’s request for a Canadian-style free trade agreement with the EU.
However, Brussels officials have indicated that a Canadian-style deal is no longer on the table unless Britain commits to following European rules on competition.
Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski said: “If EU continue to behave in unreasonable way we must leave without a formal trade agreement… Remember our fastest-growing export markets by a country mile are outside the EU.”
Former Treasury Minister David Gauke, who opposed a hard Brexit and was stripped of the Tory whip in the last Parliament, said the Prime Minister and the EU should each compromise.
“I think there’s an awful lot that needs to be done in a very short period of time,” he told Sky.
“I think it has always been a very challenging timetable to get all this done by the end of the year.”
France warned of a bruising battle ahead, with foreign minister Jean-Yves le Drian predicting the two sides will “rip each other apart”.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and chief negotiator Michel Barnier have both cast doubt on Boris Johnson’s aim to reach a comprehensive agreement by the end of the year when the Brexit transition period runs out.
The EU has warned Britain cannot expect to enjoy continued “high quality” market access if it insists on diverging from EU social and environmental standards.