As the eighth round of talks is set to begin this week, frustration in Downing Street at the EU’s stalling tactics is reaching boiling point.
The UK negotiating team led by David Frost have warned if talks in London make no progress this week then it will be too late to make a deal.
And the preparation for a no deal has been ramped up with the “brightest and best” civil servants brought into a new Transition Hub.
A senior Downing Street source said that they have been “resigned to Australia rules for some time” as the probable outcome, meaning that there is little confidence the EU will agree to a fair trade deal which would be acceptable to the UK.
However, there are signs that leading figures in the EU are beginning to panic about the prospect of no trade deal and loss of free access to the world’s fifth biggest market amid reports that chief negotiator Michel Barnier has been sidelined.
Mr Barnier has led a strategy which has seen progress on other areas blocked until…