Hardliners in the Belgian capital are determined to “punish” and “humiliate” the UK for daring to leave the bloc, the former Brexit Secretary said. Meanwhile, MPs in Westminster “will be tempted to try to frustrate” Britain’s departure by either pushing to delay exit day or watering down Brexit. Urging those who want an orderly Brexit to unify against threats posed on both sides of the Channel in a column in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Raab said: “For all those MPs who want a deal, it is vital that we see off such wrecking tactics next week.
“At the same time, we must continue to prepare for a WTO departure on March 29.
“It is the responsible thing for any government to do, and will reinforce the Government’s negotiating leverage at this crunch moment in the talks.”
Mr Raab served as Brexit Secretary from July 2018 to November 2018 but resigned to voice concerns over Theresa May’s deal.
He voted against the Prime Minister’s deal when it came before the Commons, despite being involved in negotiating it, warning that the terms were worse than remaining in the EU.
Mr Raab also pushed for Britain to have a unilateral right to pull out of the Irish border backstop.
And last month, the former Brexit Secretary voted for replacing the Irish border backstop with “alternative arrangements”.
He said the result of the vote had given Mrs May a “clear mandate” to renegotiate her deal.
He said: “The greatest threat to a deal now comes from fringe efforts to derail the negotiations, in the EU and UK, at their most sensitive moment.”
Identifying challenges to securing a divorce deal in both Britain and Brussels, he said MPs who back an orderly exit must be prepared to fight on two fronts.
He said: “There is a caucus of Commission officials and European leaders who wish to punish the UK, to show that leaving the EU is a humiliating experience.
“They consistently misread the mood in this country, but we will only strike a deal if the pragmatists win the day.
“Second, as the EU drags negotiations out for several more weeks to test UK resolve, some MPs will be tempted to try to frustrate Brexit.
“We should strive every sinew to get an acceptable deal over the line, but ready ourselves in case the EU rejects all reasonable compromise.
“Facing down the wreckers, on both sides of the Channel, will give us our best chance to seal the deal.”
Mr Raab’s warning comes with just 47 days to go until Brexit.
On Wednesday, Theresa May is to ask MPs for more time to secure legally-binding changes to the Irish border backstop.
However the EU has insisted it will not agree to any revisions to the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes the backstop terms.
MPs will have another chance to vote on her deal later this month, with a second “meaningful vote” to take place by February 26.
Mrs May has been accused of attempting to run down the clock by holding the vote so close to the March 29 exit day.
Some MPs fear her aim is to ultimately force them into backing her deal to avoid a no-deal Brexit.