Former British MEP Roger Helmer has praised the UK Brexit negotiating team for placing pressure onto the European Union by not making any concessions during the latest round of talks in Brussels. Face-to-face discussions between the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier ended a day earlier than planned on Thursday.
Mr Barnier firmly pointed the blame on the UK by insisting only the EU had engaged “constructively” and called for more of the same from Britain.
Roger Helmer, former Conservative and UKIP MEP for the East Midlands, said: “When Michel Barnier speaks of ‘a failure to negotiate’, he means a failure to make concessions, a failure to do as we’re told.
“Long may it continue.”
Following the talks, Mr Frost said the personal showdown had given “extra depth and flexibility” to talks, however, the positivity was quickly replaced with a feeling of Groundhog Day.
Mr Frost firmly rejected Mr Barnier’s demands for a level-playing field on trade and access to UK fisheries.
The Brussels chief has refused to shift from a mandate given by member states to ensure the UK is bound by EU regulations on trade, in order to protect the single market from being undercut in any future agreements.
In a statement, Mr Frost said: “We have completed our discussion of the full range of issues in the negotiation in just over three days.
“The negotiations have been comprehensive and useful.
When asked by LBC Radio if the Government was being disrespectful of EU rules, Mr Johnson replied: “No, not remotely”.
He added after Brexit it would be wrong for the country to continue to comply with EU laws or “hand over our amazing fish stocks, so we’re not going to do that”.
The Prime Minister added: “We now need to make sure that we get a good deal.
“I’m a bit more optimistic than Michel is there, there is a good agreement to be reached but obviously if we can’t then we will have the very good option also of an Australian-style arrangement.”