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The former Brexit Party MEP said the European Union has not taken UK politicians seriously and believes Britain fears leaving without a deal. But the UK has rebuffed Brussels’ offer of intensified trade talks next week, telling the EU’s chief negotiator there is “no basis for negotiations”. The Prime Minister on Friday accused European leaders of having “abandoned the idea of a free trade deal” and told the country to “get ready” for a no deal outcome in the negotiations after his October 15 deadline for reaching an agreement passed.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Lowe said: “I’m praying for a no deal Brexit. I’ve always been consistent in my view that the best deal for the UK is a clean break Brexit.
“I’m hoping that Boris is true to his word.
“I think so far David Frost has discharged his duties very well.
“I just hope there isn’t going to be a further resiling from our negotiating team.
“Since the beginning, if you watch what Theresa May did, the British people gave their view and we’ve got the enemy within negotiating with the European Union.
“Ultimately, they have never taken what our politicians say seriously because they think we fear leaving with no deal when in actual fact that’s the best deal for us.”
The Australia-style deal espoused by Mr Johnson would see tariffs slapped on many British goods and some quota restrictions introduced with the UK’s largest trading partner.
Industry has reacted with alarm at the suggestion, warning of the damage to an economy already stricken by coronavirus if there was no deal by the end of the year.
CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said the UK could not afford to give up on negotiations and called on both sides to exercise “tenacity, common sense and compromise”.
“Neither side can afford to fall at the final fence. A deal is the only outcome that protects Covid-hit livelihoods at a time when every job in every country counts,” she said.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes warned it would have a “devastating impact” on the automotive sector, hitting jobs “in every region of Britain”.
There was also criticism from within the Union as Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford accused Mr Johnson of “gambling with British jobs and security” and called his position a “huge mistake”.
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The hardening of Britain’s stance came after EU leaders agreed summit conclusions on Thursday calling on the UK to make “the necessary moves to make an agreement possible” without any suggestion of EU concessions.
The two sides have been at loggerheads for months over the issues of future fishing rights and state aid rules.
Speaking at the end of the summit in Brussels on Thursday, European Council president Charles Michel said the EU was ready to carry on with negotiations.
“We are ready to negotiate, we are ready to continue the negotiations and I hope it will be possible to make progress in the future,” he said.
“We are determined to reach a deal but not at any cost.”
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