Lord David Frost has warned Rishi Sunak isn’t being tough enough on Brexit talks - and slammed the deal delivered by Theresa May as “terrible”.
In an exclusive interview with GB News this morning the former lead Brexit negotiator told Camilla Tominey he was concerned about the outcome of negotiations, with a new deal expected as soon as Monday.
He said: “What's made people nervous in the past is that we've not been quite sure what the government has been trying to achieve and when I was doing the negotiations back in 2019, and 2020, we set out very clearly what we were aiming to do and why.
"I think there's been some nervousness that maybe the Government isn't seeking to achieve everything that's really important to people who care about stability in Northern Ireland and the sovereignty of the country.
"The way the politics in Northern Ireland has been over the last two or three years means that the protocol can't survive in its current form. It was workable at the start, but I think the world has changed and it can't survive.
Lord Frost told Camilla Tominey that EU law could not continue to apply in Northern Ireland GB News
“The only question is, do we get there in one go with the protocol bill, or do we get there in stages by an agreed route, but I think there can no longer be any doubts about the correct destination for this - which is full sovereignty over the whole country.
“Now, for me a good deal if it's a negotiated deal is one which takes a significant step in that direction, and doesn't present itself as the final step, but it can continue to evolve and get us to that end point.
“What has worried me slightly is that we seem to parked the bill, the Northern Ireland protocol bill would have overwritten the protocol and I think if we were really tough, we would be pushing that through the Lords at the same time in parallel to make it clear that if there wasn't a good deal, there was another option.
“So I worry slightly that's been parked and maybe that's weakened the hand slightly."
Frost continued: “Theresa May and her team negotiated this terrible deal in 2018, which wouldn't go through Parliament and which would have kept the whole country in the Customs Union and bits of the single market forever with an EU lock.
“What we did was improve that, we put in place a deal and then we could negotiate a free trade agreement.
"We gave the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont consent over the continuation of the protocol.
"And we changed a few other things, so it was an improvement. It ultimately goes back to the mistakes that were made in 2017 and 2018. We corrected some of them.
“I wish we'd been able to do more but with Parliament's and the constitutional meltdown as it was, we took a view that the most important thing was to deliver on the referendum results.
“And I think if we hadn't done that, who knows what would have happened in British politics. So it was an unsatisfactory choice, but I believe we took the right choice to get us out of the EU and get on with the future.”
Focusing on the latest deal that is about to be struck he added: “I have absolutely no idea what's in it. We've all read what's been in the media over the last week or so.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has spent the weekend in Belfast negotiating with the EU Ben Stansall
"We'll have to see what's in it to know whether we're happy."
Mr Frost also commented on the Tories hopes of winning the next Election saying: “I still don't give up on winning the next election.
"I've no doubt that if Labour wins, they'll want to dismantle bits of the deal.”
On corporation tax he added: “I think it definitely should be scrapped. I do think the signal we're giving with this corporation tax increase is a poor one and it should be changed and if we have to find spending cuts, great.
"But I think it's a bigger thing going on, it's the mentality we're into at the moment."
Discussing his own ambitions to stand as an MP, Frost said: “If a constituency wanted me to, and the party wanted me to, then obviously I'll take that very seriously. I’m not ruling it out.”