The EU has been immature and inflexible in trade negotiations but the door is “still ajar” for a Brexit trade deal, according to a cabinet minister.
Boris Johnson said on Friday that the UK was finished negotiating with the EU unless it is willing to intensify talks and make key concessions.
His words were seen by many as a last ditch bluff to try to draw concessions on fisheries policy, which is the largest barrier to a deal being struck by 31 December – the date the UK will leave the EU’s single market and customs union.
UK chief Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier will still speak over the phone today, after a planned face-to-face meeting was cancelled.
Investors are still bullish about the prospect of talks resuming and a deal being struck, with Sterling up 0.7 per cent today to $1.30.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News today that the ball was now firmly in the EU’s court.
“The EU has not shown the flexibility we have wished them to have shown,” he said.
“So unless something changes, unless they’re willing to come back to us to show that degree of flexibility and maturity, we will leave at the end of the year the transition period and trade on the sorts of arrangements Australia has and a number of other countries have around the world.
“It’s important that we move forward, because businesses need certainty, the country wants to move forward.”
Jenrick’s comments come as Johnson prepares to speak to business leaders this week to urge them to ramp up preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU single market and customs union next year.
It comes as a part of the government’s new “Time is Running Out” advertising campaign that aims to inform businesses of the changes in customs procedures from next year.