Michael Gove said today to Michel Barnier: "The ball is in your court" if the European Union wishes to resume trade talks with Britain, as the bloc has given Britain "no choice" but to prepare for a no-deal apportionment amplify.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office said Brussels had shown in recent weeks that it was "not serious" to get a deal because it had not compromised on important issues.
He still hoped an agreement could be reached in the coming weeks, but stressed that the EU needed to drastically revise its approach so that Britain could consider returning to the negotiating table.
He borrowed a term from Star Trek when he said the EU is trying to "keep us in its tractor beam" and suggested that Brussels broke its word by not agreeing to a Canadian-style free trade agreement.
His intervention came after Boris Johnson warned companies to prepare to leave the bloc without a trade deal when the post-Brexit transition period ends in December after EU leaders refused to bow to his negotiation deadline .
Michael Gove said today the UK has no choice but to prepare to leave the EU without a trade deal
Mr Gove said the ball was in his court when asked if formal trade talks with Michel Barnier could be resumed
Mr Johnson set a European Council meeting last Thursday as the deadline for reaching agreement on the broad outline of a trade agreement.
However, the two sides remain bogged down in a number of crisis areas, including post-Brexit fishing rights. French President Emmanuel Macron firmly believes he will not give up his tough stance on maintaining current access to British waters.
At the summit, EU leaders agreed to continue talks but gave no reason, saying it was up to the UK to take the next step, sparking an angry response from Mr Johnson who said Britain will now step up its preparations for a no-deal divorce.
The UK has made it clear that it is ready to resume trade discussions, but only if the EU completely changes its negotiating position and the two sides are now involved in a high-stakes game.
Mr Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, was due to come to London next week, but these talks have now been canceled.
Mr Gove told Sky News, “Well, the ball is in his field. We have made it clear that we need to see a change in the European Union's approach.
“I know he'll be calling David Frost in the next few days. Let's see if the European Union recognizes the importance of an agreement and the importance of a ground movement. "
Mr Gove had previously estimated that the likelihood of a trade deal with the EU is 66 percent.
When asked about his new assessment, he replied: “Less. I think it's less, but I can't be specific. One of the reasons it is less is the position that the Heads of State and Government of the European Union have taken over the past few weeks.
“What we have seen and what our negotiators have noted is that the European Union side was not ready to produce the detailed legal text. They were not willing to intensify the conversations in a way that would suggest that they are really serious about getting approval.
At the same time, they have insisted that we accept a level of control over our autonomy that an independent country cannot really accept, and at the same time they say that they should continue to have exactly the same access, for example to our fishing waters and our fish stocks as before, and that seems to me to be the behavior of an organization and an institution that is not serious about making the compromises necessary to secure an agreement. I still hope we can get a deal. "
In the Sunday Times, Mr Gove had written: “If the EU doesn't make fundamental changes, we will leave trading under WTO rules on Australian terms.
“It's not my preferred destination and there will be turbulence along the way.
"I'm not blasé about the challenges, but if the choice is between arrangements that tie our hands indefinitely, or if we can shape our own future, then that's no choice at all."
Australia does not have a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU and also does far less business with Brussels than the UK.
In a no-deal split, the EU would impose tariffs on British goods. Corporate groups warn that doing so would hurt UK businesses at a time when they can least afford it due to the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Gove, who long warned of a no-deal split, said the UK will "play every muscle to be fit for Jan 1st" and the government will not be "squeezed or sandbagged to itself to join the agenda of others ".
He suggested that the EU had broken its word by failing to offer the UK a Canadian-style deal.
"We are just looking for the terms on which Canada and the EU waive tariffs on each other's goods," he said.
Emmanuel Macron has stuck to his tough stance on fishing rights after Brexit – one of the crisis areas where talks remain stalled
"This is what the EU has announced, but at the eleventh hour the bloc doesn't seem to take a yes for an answer."
He added: “The EU wants to keep us in its tractor beam. It's an independent life, Jim, but not as we know it. & # 39;
Mr Gove's intervention comes after government sources claimed the EU treated trade talks as "performance art" rather than serious negotiations.
In a violent attack, insiders accused the EU negotiators led by Mr Barnier of using the meetings to "strengthen their internal position" – with particular criticism of French President Emmanuel Macron.
"There are indications that EU leaders, concerned about the prospect of populist politicians like Marine Le Pen, have decided to put domestic politics ahead of a free trade agreement with the UK," a source close to said Conversations.
The government launched a public information campaign today to encourage businesses to prepare for the UK's departure on January 1st.
A television advertisement with the slogan "Time is running out" will air on ITV tonight.