WORCESTER’S MP says progress has in fact been made in some areas in the post-Brexit talks.

Robin Walker was speaking after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier accused the UK of “backtracking” on its commitments, adding “no significant progress” had been made in a press conference on Friday.

The UK left the EU on January 31, and is in the transition period that lasts until December 31, with the UK still bound to most EU rules.

The withdrawal agreement says the two sides need to agree to any extension to the transition period by July 1, which campaigners are calling for to happen, particularly when attention has been on the pandemic in recent months.

But the MP said the deadline was “artificial” because legislation passed by Parliament rules out an extension, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been clear he is against an extension.

READ MORE: 303 bus service from Kidderminster to Worcester is saved from axe

READ MORE: New West Midland Safari Park boss disappointed at law change

Mr Walker said: “I think there is some politics being played here.

“Certainly in the areas I am directly involved in, in my ministerial role, there has actually been a lot of progress made, a lot of work done.

"Obviously I don’t have sight of trade talks, but I know there is a huge amount of work going on.

“I think we need the EU to recognise we have left, we are ending the transitional period at the end of this year, and so real effort needs to be put in by both sides.to get a trade agreement. We have to prepare for both the outcome we want to see, but also must prepare for the outcome when a trade deal isn’t in place, which is an Australian style relationship.”

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “I was elected on a manifesto last year to Get Brexit Done.

"We have a good agreement with the EU on a Future Partnership based on zero tariffs and zero quotas, so I look forward to starting that new relationship on January 1s, 2021.”

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid-Worcestershire said: “I would much prefer a deal and that is still our goal and we are still in negotiations with the EU.

"But it can’t be a bad deal – and the manifesto I stood on in December 2019 clearly stated that we will not extend the implementation period beyond 2020.”