Leave Means Leave co-chairman, John Longworth has urged the UK to adopt a tough Brexitstance to ensure Britain gets a good deal when exiting the Brussels bloc.
Mr Longworth met with the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator in a bid to ensure that the UK did not sacrifice its “newly won freedoms” to secure a trade deal.
The former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce insisted that the UK would “prosper” with or without an EU trade deal.
He said: “The fact of the matter is that the UK needs to adopt an equally tough position in our negotiations.
“The UK will prosper with or without a trade deal with the EU providing we leverage those new economic hard-won freedoms that we have got from the referendum.”
Mr Longworth also told Sky News how German businesses were treating Brexit negotiations.
He said: “The number of business and countries will suffer quite significantly if, in fact, they haven’t got full access to the UK market.
“The problem, of course, is actually for many of those businesses they recognise that they are having to toe-the-line of pursuing the European project.
“The key thing for us is not to trade away our freedoms because it is by leveraging those economic freedoms that we will become more prosperous having left the European Union.
“Actually a trade deal is not worth it, a bad deal is certainly not worth it. We should have no trade deal rather than a bad deal.”
Before the meeting, Mr Longworth said: “I will use this opportunity to make it clear to Mr Barnier that the British people will not exchange their newly won freedoms for a trade deal with the EU.
“Crucially, this means that the UK will have the economic and regulatory freedom for our businesses to thrive.
“The EU must accept that in the event that a transition period is required, it will be both limited in its coverage and fixed in its length and an FTA (free trade agreement) must be agreed before the transition begins.
“The speed at which negotiations are taking place must be intensified.”
The comments come after Mr Longworth met the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Mr Barnier as part of a cross-party delegation seeking to defend the position of Leave voters before talks resume in Brussels.
The delegation included MEP Steven Woofle, ex-CBI head Lord Digby Jones, Labour Leave chairman John Mills, and Mr Longworth.
The group met Mr Barnier just days after leading Brexiteer Nigel Farage met with the Frenchman to discuss Brexit progress so far.
January 11th, 2018: Express