A Brexit deal at any price would “destroy society and harmony” in the UK for a generation, according to a senior county councillor.
Colin Davie, executive councillor for economy at Lincolnshire County Council, said the country was presenting itself as being “desperate” for a deal with the European Union.
A deal has yet to be reached with the EU as Prime Minister Theresa May continues negotiations with Brussels.
The UK is set to leave the union on March 29, 2019, with a transitional period of 21 months, but Mrs May has hinted that this could be extended.
But, in a speech to a Team Lincolnshire dinner at MIPIM UK in London, Councillor Davie said the UK needs to “put some backbone” into negotiations.
“We are the fifth biggest economy on the planet, we are leaders in innovation, technology advancement and we are presenting ourselves as a backward third world country desperate for a deal with the EU at any price,” he said.
“A deal at any price will destroy society and harmony in our country for at least a generation.
“We need to put some backbone into our negotiations with the EU and remind them of our strengths and how a good deal based on mutual respect will also be good for them.”
He added that a recent deal between the county and Hunan proved how a “global Lincolnshire” could be created.
Negotiations between Brussels and the UK recently came to a standstill over how to avoid a visible border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Mrs May said having the option to extend the transitional period would help the “impasse” over the Irish border.
EU Council President Jean Claude-Junker said following a summit in Brussels that an extension was a “good idea” and “will probably happen” in order to avoid the problem.
SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from our coverage every week and insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.