Downing Street has denied reports there will be a softening of the UK’s position on Brexit following the departure of key Vote Leave officials from No 10.
The prime minister’s official spokesman acknowledged time was “in short supply” if they were to get an agreement before the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year.
However he said suggestions the government could compromise on key principles in the wake of the decision by Boris Johnson’s top adviser to leave were “simply false”.
Cummings was credited as the mastermind of the successful Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum and there was speculation in Brussels that with him and fellow Brexiteer Lee Cain out of the way it could be easier to get an agreement.
In response, however, Johnson’s spokesman said: “That is simply false. The government’s position in relation to the future trade agreement negotiations is unchanged.”
Talks on a free trade agreement – which have been continuing this week in London – are due to “pause” over the weekend before resuming next week in Brussels.
While a number of deadlines have come and gone, there is increasing concern that if an agreement cannot be reached in the coming days it will be too late to implement before January 1.