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Brexit negotiator urges EU to adopt ‘different spirit’

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Lord David Frost (front right) giving evidence to the Lords European Union Committee - Credit: PA

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has called for the EU to adopt a ‘different spirit’ during discussions over issues between Westminster and Brussels.

Shortages on some food products have been experienced in Northern Ireland, businesses have struggled with red tape and Brussels recently threatened to override part of a post-Brexit agreement on the region to impose controls on coronavirus vaccines.

Lord Frost said: “I think the EU is still adjusting somewhat, as we thought they might, to the existence of a genuinely independent actor in their neighbourhood.”

The trade deal negotiator listed “niggling border issues”, such as Brussels’ decision to place barriers on live UK shellfish exports, and a likely request to delay ratifying the deal.

“I think it’s been more than bumpy to be honest in the last six weeks.

“I think it’s been problematic,” he told the Lords European Union Committee.

“It is going to require a different spirit probably from the EU but I’m sure we are going to see that and see some of this subside as we go forward.”

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove compared the situation to the “increased level of turbulence” at the take-off of a flight but said he was confident the two sides will reach the “gin and tonic and peanuts stage”.

“But then eventually you reach a cruising altitude and the crew tell you to take your seatbelts off, and enjoy a gin and tonic and some peanuts,” he added.

“We’re not at the gin and tonic and peanuts stage yet but I’m confident we will be.”

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