Sunday 2 February 2020 1:40 pm

Brexit: UK diplomats ordered to make immediate break with EU counterparts

British diplomats have reportedly been ordered to make a clean break with their EU counterparts following the UK’s exit from the bloc.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raad ordered diplomats to sit apart from their former EU allies at international events and adopt a stance as a “confident independent country”, the Sunday Times reported. 

According to a leaked document, Raab said diplomats should no aim to “seek residual influence” with EU members.

Raab said Britain “should not be shy” to “disapply EU foreign policy positions”. 

In the telegram to UK overseas missions sent last week, he added that “we do not accept that the EU can prevent us from speaking or clear our interventions” if the UK has different foreign policy stances during the transition period. 

Meanwhile, in an interview this morning Raab said that the “issue of alignment” with EU rules is “not even in the negotiating room” ahead of trade talks with the bloc.

“We are taking back control of our laws, so we are not going to have high alignment with the EU, legislative alignment with their rules,” he told Sky News.

He added: “But we’ll want to cooperate and we expect the EU to follow through on their commitment to a Canada-style free trade agreement.”

The prime minister is expected to unveil his vision for the UK’s future relationship with the EU in a speech tomorrow, after Britain formally left the EU on Friday.

Boris Johnson is expected to tell the EU is is prepared to accept customs checks at the border if he is unable to secure the trade deal he is hoping for. 

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