Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has been challenged over his claim back in April 2016 that the UK will “holds all the cards” in Brexit talks.
During a campaign speech, the Brexiteer had claimed: “The day after we vote to leave we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want”, a clip that Andrew Marr repeated back to the MP.
But Gove insisted he was not embarrassed by those remarks about the UK position, when he dismissed the In campaign’s claim that it would be “impossible” to reach a trading agreement.
Rather than holding “all the cards”, the Brexiteer instead said the UK holds some cards, and accused EU officials of not being serious about making compromises and said they would have to back down if chief negotiator Michel Barnier is to resume negotiations in London this week.
But he said the door is “ajar” for post-Brexit trade talks to continue with the EU after Downing Street declared negotiations as “over” in order to prevent the high trade tariffs the UK faces from December 31 when the transition period ends.
Asked if the door is still open to talks, he said: “It is ajar; we hope the EU will change their position, we’re certainly not saying that if they do change their position we can’t talk to them.”
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that the chances of getting a deal are “less” than the 66% he had previously predicted.
“It’s less. I can’t be precise, but one of the reasons why it’s less is the position that’s been taken in the last couple of weeks by European Union leaders,” he added.
He said the EU has refused to work on a detailed legal draft text during negotiations and of not being “willing to intensify the talks”, while making unacceptable demands on fishing waters.
“And so that seems to me to be the behaviour of an organisation and an institution that is not serious about making the compromises necessary to secure a deal,” Gove said.
Asked if talks could resume with Barnier, he replied: “The ball is in his court. We’ve made clear that we need to see a change in approach from the European Union.“I know that he’ll be calling David Frost over the course of the next few days; let’s see if the European Union appreciate the importance of reaching a deal and the importance of making ground.”