UK's Frost says October 15 is deadline which both sides must take into account

FILE PHOTO: Britain's chief negotiator David Frost is seen before a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Britain, September 8, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost said his team is working very hard to get a trade deal with the European Union by Oct. 15, but that date is a deadline which both sides need to take into account.

“My job is just to work as hard as we can over the next two weeks to see if we can get an agreement in place by the 15th,” Frost told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

“Both sides in the negotiations need to take that (date) fully into account when they’re planning the next two weeks.”

When asked if that date represented a hard deadline, he said that an earlier statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to that date, adding: “As we approach the 15th - and it is very close already - I will have to advise the Prime Minister on whether the conditions in his statement have been met or not.”

Frost also noted Johnson’s statement said “our door would never be closed”.

“Even if there was no basis for a Free Trade Agreement, there was a good deal that will be worth talking about before the end of the year, there were a lot of practical matters that we would need to cover, so in any circumstances I would expect that to be happening,” Frost said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; writing by Sarah Young; editing by Alistair Smout and Stephen Addison