Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the European Union is having to catch up with the UK after the December general election gained Boris Johnson a huge majority in Parliament. The former Conservative leader noted that Brussels can’t bully the UK anymore into adopting EU policies in the Brexit negotiations. It comes as UK-EU negotiations have stalled as the bloc wants access to UK fishing waters in a trade agreement.
Speaking to Brexit-Watch, Sir Iain said: “I think everything changed in December when we held the election. I think the EU is playing catch up on that without really realising it.
“We are in a much stronger position than we were before, we don’t look over our shoulders any longer as a Government.
“We don’t have to worry about Parliament.
“Essentially the Government can get through whatever it needs to get through in regards to Europe.
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Brussels has been warned against trying to bully the UK in Brexit negotiations
Sir Iain said the European Union is having to catch up with the UK
“That has cut out one of the levers Mr Banier used very carefully with those who were opposed to leaving and therefore those keen to do anything to hamstring our departure.
“They’ve now left the pitch, they’re no longer of any great concern, that means when the Government decides it wants to do something that it can get it done internally.
“Now the EU has to figure out how to deal with a country that has a significant majority in its Government and can actually get stuff through.
“You can’t bully them any longer and I don’t think they’ve quite come to terms with that.”
UK-EU negotiations have stalled as the bloc wants access to UK fishing waters
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has told Boris Johnson to stick to his promises as he warned there would not be a trade deal otherwise.
Michel Barnier appeared to play hard ball with the Prime Minister ahead of a fourth round of trade talks this week as he insisted the prospect of a no-deal end to the transition period this year would be compounded by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Barnier told The Sunday Times there would not be an “agreement at any cost”.
With talks on future trading arrangements seemingly in deadlock over issues like fisheries, Britain has only until July 1 to seek an extension to the transition period.
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EU-UK fishing waters
Mr Johnson has repeatedly insisted that the UK will end the transition arrangement on schedule at the end of the year,
However, Mr Barnier accused Britain of not keeping its commitments.
“The UK has been taking a step back – two steps back, three steps back – from the original commitments,” the EU’s chief negotiator said.
“The UK negotiators need to be fully in line with what the Prime Minister signed-up to with us.
“Because 27 heads of state and government and the European Parliament do not have a short memory.”