Britain will enter post-Brexit trade talks with the EU next month, as the two sides attempt to thrash out before the end of the transition period on December 31. So far EU bosses have hinted they want the UK to stay closely aligned with Brussels rules and have warned Boris Johnson they will not back the kind of agreement he is seeking. As a result, Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin is urging the Prime Minister to walk away from the talks.
The Brexiteer, who founded the popular pub chain, has urged Mr Johnson not to “tie out hands” and sign a bodged trade deal with the EU.
He told Express.co.uk: “I actually think we would be better off with no deal and leaving on WTO terms.
“I think we would be better off in the long run than signing one under pressure.
“We must not sign anything that ties our hands.”
The trade talks, which will kickstart on March 3, look set to become heated as the UK has already hit out at Brussels for being too tough.
British officials have said the EU is trying to impose conditions on the UK that go far beyond the standard of a normal free trade agreement, after the European Parliament overwhelmingly backed a strict negotiating mandate on Wednesday.
The resolution encourages Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, to take a tough line on fisheries, Gibraltar and keeping the UK tied to the bloc’s rules and regulations.
The motion calls for Britain to align to the EU’s environmental, labour and social standards, as well as its state aid, competition and tax policies.
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It urges Mr Barnier to demand that Britain never slashes standards fisheries policy, animal healthcare, the environment and climate change, and animal health.
The 21-page list of demands says that Britain should sign up to the bloc’s “evolving” rules and regulations as part of any future trade deal.
The resolution commended a strong majority from MEPs – with 543 voting for the plans, 39 against and 69 abstentions.
France’s most senior MEP Nathalie Loiseau, who is a close ally of Emmanuel Macron, warned Britain the EU “won’t compromise” on its demands.
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She said: “The European Parliament has proposed a broad, deep and sustainable partnership that is unprecedented in scope and ambition to the UK.
“This offer comes with balanced obligations: we will not compromise on what we stand for: high standards we have to protect consumers, workers, privacy and personal data of citizens or to protect the environment.
“With the UK, we still have immense challenges to face together: climate change, terrorism, cyberattacks or viruses know no borders. We have to invent new ways to work together.
“Brexit should not destroy relations between our economies, our cultures and our peoples. It should not undermine either the European Union. The UK chose to leave our Union. We are determined to strengthen and renew Europe.”
The UK has hit out at Brussels’ proposals, as it adds obligations beyond a standard free trade agreement.
The EU’s deal with Canada does not abolish all tariffs and quotas with the EU, as the UK has said it is seeking – though it does get rid of most.
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