DAVID Davis, after his meeting with Michel Barnier, insists the UK – actually the UK Government at No 10 – knows what it wants from Brexit.

He regurgitates the line “as comprehensive and frictionless trade in goods as possible” together with free trade with the rest of the world. Yet, tiny Belgium from within the EU exports more to India than the UK!

What does “as comprehensive and frictionless as possible actually mean”? The phrase is constantly bandied about. It is just as meaningless as Jeremy Corbyn’s “Brexit for jobs”!

David Davis’s phrase lacks detail. How comprehensive? Which goods should be frictionless in transit? Where will there be friction? Obviously frictionless trade is what we have at present within the customs union and single market.

Michel Barnier is clear. He has not been made aware of any details from the UK side as to what it wants. And being outside the single market will raise obstacles to trade. The four freedoms are red lines for the EU and cannot be open for negotiation.

Angela Merkel recently raised laughter at the scenario where Theresa May is reminded by Merkel that the UK needs to outline what it actually wants, since the UK Government has activated Article 50 and is taking steps to give up its bespoke membership of the EU, with opt-outs and rebate, and leave the customs union and internal market.

Now No 10 has to start to commit details to paper. There is no hiding behind vague and meaningless mantras any more, or stupid phrases like a “red-white-and-blue Brexit”.

David Davis and the UK Cabinet do not seem capable of formulating specifics beyond the top line! The Cabinet is divided; their party is divided and at war with the civil service. Outwardly, the Westminster government is becoming unstable and incoherent. Which group is next for a tirade of insults from the nasty party?

The EU and the 27 will of course be the final arbiters in any proposals put forward by No 10, if they ever surface from within the increasingly fractious and squabbling Cabinet. Therein lies the problem!

Brussels must indeed be running out of patience. And the clock is ticking.

John Edgar

OUR Prime Minister is keen for an independent trade policy but trade deals are never decided by one party alone. The BBC says the EU already has 68 free trade deals with other countries as well as its customs union. Seamless buying and selling and friction-free trade already exists.

I don’t know if the BBC is accurate, not being an expert in trade deal vocabulary. When I tried to check the facts I was impressed and a bit overwhelmed by the online information supplied by the EU: a list of all trade agreements in place, partly in place, pending, being updated or being negotiated.

I’ve also discovered what Mercosur, the GCC, CARIFORUM and SADC are. It seems every other part of the world is grouping together in order to make trade deals. Why would they do that? Could it possibly be they can get a better deal by banding together?

The EU site can tell me if it’s free trade, an economic partnership, an Interim or Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or just an association with a strong trade component. For example, The Ukraine has a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and an Association Agreement (possibly connected to the European Atomic Energy Community) while Zambia (part of ESA) has an Economic Partnership Agreement, signed on August 2009, not provisionally applied yet.

I know some people are worried about the lack of information from our government about how talks are progressing.

Do not fear. Once we are no longer a member, we will be able to follow the trade negotiation on this EU website!

Sheena Guz