Britain and the EU must work together to shape a close new relationship that works in the interests of all citizens, Conservative MEPs' leader Ashley Fox told the European Parliament today.
Speaking in a debate on the Parliament's Brexit guidelines, Mr Fox stressed: "We all need a good agreement, not a good fight."
He went on: "I want members to see today as a beginning and not an end. It is the start of a new relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Although we will be leaving the EU we want to forge a deep and special partnership with our friends and allies in Europe.
"It is in the interests of all our citizens that we reach a comprehensive agreement. I want Britain's borders with the EU to be as invisible as possible to allow as much trade as possible."
Mr Fox criticised the way the Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt had drawn up the draft guidelines, consulting only with a handful of political friends and presenting it as a fait accompli to the vast majority of MEPs.
"We hope in future we can work with you in 'good faith and full transparency', as you request in your motion, " Mr Fox added.
In a reference to the controversy over Gibraltar, Mr Fox, who represents South West England and Gibraltar, emphasised that sovereignty was not on the table in the forthcoming negotiations.
He concluded: "Let us go forward together and reach that deep and special partnership that will benefit all our nations."