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Earlier this week, the UK chief Brexit negotiator David Frost was in Brussels to have face-to-face talks with his European counterpart Michel Barnier. Meetings between the two sides are expected to continue in London next week.
The October deadline, set by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, came and went with neither side able to come to any agreement.
But both sides are urgently continuing efforts to fill in gaps that need to be resolved to have a deal in place by the end of the transition period in December.
And now, the former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has claimed a global Britain will be able to prosper through a free trade agreement.
He said: “Historically, Britain has always welcomed goods, people, ideas and capital.
“Britons have had a robust sense of their capacity to do things well and to learn from anyone who might be able to do better.
“That’s why Britain has made such an extraordinary and unique contribution to the world: the mother of parliaments, the world’s common language, the industrial revolution and the emancipation of minorities.
“That’s why Global Britain should be able to do more for the world, and for itself, than a Britain that had to double-check things with Brussels.”
Today both Mr Johnson and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed to “redouble efforts” in a bid to solve “significant differences” in the UK-EU trade negotiations.
In his column in the Telegraph, Mr Abbott said Brexit is not about “ending free trade with the EU” but ending Britain’s restraints.
He continued: “You see, Britain is not a rich country because of the EU.
“Rather, because the EU placed restrictions on Britain’s economic freedom, you could almost say that Britain is a rich country despite the EU.
“Brexit isn’t about ending free trade with the EU – which Britain wants to keep – but ending the restraints on Britain’s ability to trade more freely with other countries, such as Australia.
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“The aim should always be to trade high quality goods and services freely almost everywhere, and for highly qualified people to work for high salaries almost anywhere.
“In other words, what was previously possible only within the EU should become possible with other countries around the world that have broadly comparable living standards.”
Mr Abbott was appointed an adviser to the Board of Trade earlier this year but the news was met with criticism.
Labour MPs said comments he made in the past make him a “misogynist”, something which the former prime minister denies.
Mr Abbott – who was ousted by his own party in 2015 – is also opposed to gay marriage.
Professor Alex de Ruyter, director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University, previously told Express.co.uk warned the former Australian politician could jeopardise a Brexit trade deal with the US.
He said: “Abbott styles himself as a strongman but his abrasive style would alienate the above, leaving who – China, Russia, India, Turkey, North Korea?
“It is hard to see a trade deal with any of these countries as being
“His comments on much business already being done as if No Deal were in place seem bizarre.
“Given that the EU accounts for half of our trade, this is palpably not the case.”
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