Trade negotiations between the UK and Australia began in June 2020 amid a reported dispute over the impact tariff-free imports of Australian lamb and beef would have on British farming.
Officials in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and other departments resisted trade negotiations with Australia due to their anti-Brexit stance, an Australian ex-diplomat has claimed.
George Brandis, former Australian high commissioner to the UK, who left last month, said the default position from British civil servants during the UK-Australian trade negotiations was “horror at Brexit”. He described this as “reluctance bordering on hostility in some departments – most notably Defra”, the department responsible for British farming.
Brandis, who was high commissioner to the UK throughout the talks, suggested Britain could learn from Australia to break out of a “soporific” EU-influenced mindset to agriculture policy and “go out and find new markets”.