Michael Gove has laid down the gauntlet to EU leaders over trade deal talks as Britain prepares to leave the bloc tonight.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster answered a firm “no” when asked by Sky News if the UK would give access to fishing in its waters in exchange for other key parts of a future trade deal.
This may frustrate negotiators in Europe, who have consistently warned there is not enough time to arrange a new trade deal in full by the end of the year.
‘I always accepted the referendum result’
Mr Gove told Sky News: “We are an independent country, we will make our own decisions, we will be an independent coastal state, we will be in control of all waters within 200 miles. If they want to fish in it we will decide.
“My own view is that we want a friendly relationship with other countries, but we are in control.”
His comments came after the Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney warned that “Brexit is not done” and there is still much to do to form a trade agreement.
But Mr Gove said there would be good reasons for EU nations to agree a deal with no tariffs and no quotas to ensure goods could continue to flow.
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He said: “We are not going to accept the European Court of Justice, if you look at Norway, Iceland, they are smaller nations and they control their waters.
“It’s important to bear in mind that in the past I think some people looked at negotiations as though Europe had a whip hand and they had to accept what they are given.
“We want to get a good deal but I want a good deal with other country.
“The most important thing is to make decisions in the interest of people who vote for us.”
Mr Gove also said he would not consider another extension of the transition period, even if it benefited people in Britain to have one.
He said: “It wouldn’t help anyone. What we recognise is that deadlines have to be met, they concentrate minds and they make sure that we serve the public effectively.
“We will meet this deadline.”
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Meanwhile, his former boss, David Cameron, said the country could “make a success of the choice that we made”.
He said: “I led the campaign to stay in but I always accepted the referendum result and knew this day would come.
“We are one of the biggest economies in the world and we can make a success of the choice that we made. I wish the government well in all their endeavours.”
Leaders in Ireland have concerns about the timeframe to negotiate a new trade deal.
Image: Simon Coveney said there is still much to do before Brexit is actually done
Mr Coveney told Sky News: “We respect the choice to leave but our view is unchanged. We believe this is lose, lose-lose.
“We believe Britain’s place in the world will be the lesser for not having the solidarity and support for European Union membership.
“We believe the European Union will be weaker without a country as great as the UK as a part of it.”
He said Ireland’s unique position had meant they were caught in the crossfire of negotiations and said: “Yet again despite the fact that Brexit is not of our making we will be caught in the middle of negotiation on European Union side
“We will be trying to get best possible deal from an Irish perspective and respecting British decisions, protecting a €70bn trade relationship between Ireland and UK, the 200,000 jobs in Ireland linked to that trading relationship and a similar number in the UK and we don’t have much time to do it because Boris Johnson has tied his own hands in terms of setting a tight timeline to do that.”
Britain will leave the EU at 11pm GMT on Friday night, but will enter a transition period, which comes to an end on 31 December 2020.
Brexit Night Live: Watch and follow the moment Britain exits the EU with a special programme from 9pm tonight
Source : Sky News