Dominic Raab has rebuffed Michel Barnier, saying the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator is “wrong” for claiming that the UK’s demands will lead to border checks, as the post-divorce horse-trading begins in earnest.
The Brexit-night hangovers have barely cleared but the political wrangling over the future relationship is already underway. Foreign Secretary Raab said on Sunday that Britain expects Brussels to “live up to” its undertakings to offer the UK a Canada-style trade deal which will not require “high-alignment” with the bloc’s rules.
The comments come amid reports that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a speech on Monday in which he is expected to confirm his wish for a Canada-style agreement.
Raab told Sky News that he doesn’t believe that Johnson’s proposals will lead to border checks or increased costs and paperwork for UK businesses. This view clashes with comments from Barnier, which outlined that border checks would be impossible to avoid in such an arrangement.
The foreign secretary said Barnier’s remarks were “directly in conflict” with the withdrawal agreement and the undertakings in the political declaration.
“He’s wrong if the EU lives up to its commitments on its side both in the withdrawal agreement but also in the political declaration,” he said.
Sunday is day two of the 11-month transition period, so you can expect many more EU-UK disagreements to come.