Michel Barnier (left) and Michael Gove (right) (Image: Getty)
A 30-page Whitehall document setting out the Prime Minister’s objectives for the wrangle over a trade deal emphatically rejects the bloc’s call for a continuing “level playing field” on standards and regulations. It also insists the broad outline of the future UK-EU relationship must be “capable of being rapidly finalised by September.” In a firm warning to the EU not to indulge in stonewalling tactics, the document says: “If that does not seem to be the case at the June meeting, the Government will need to decide whether the UK’s attention should move from negotiations and focus solely on continuing domestic preparations to exit the transition period in an orderly time table.”
Ministers are poised to begin preparations on new customs posts at ports and airports to ensure Britain is ready for no trade deal and a relationship based on World Trade Organisation terms.
The Whitehall document sets out the red lines for the Prime Minister’s lead negotiator David Frost when he begins discussions with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier on Monday.
The document says the Government has “a vision of a relationship based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals with both parties respecting one another’s legal autonomy and right to manage their own resources as they see fit.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: AFP via Getty Images)