Brexit fightback: Theresa May slams EU threat to punish Britain during transition period

Posted on Feb 8 2018 - 9:05am by admin


GETTYNigel Farage says the EU bully boys will be able to ‘do what they want to us’ in Brexit transition

Speaking to MPs, the Prime Minister dismissed the EU threat as “noises” off ahead of the next round of departure negotiations.

Her remarks followed a leaked document from Brussels detailing plans for the European Commission to be able be to hit the UK with swingeing tariffs and other penalties for alleged breaches of EU rules.

It also hinted that the Brexit divorce fee could be hiked above the £39billion agreed between the Government and Brussels with an extra bill to cover a share of EU defence and security initiatives during the transition.

The negotiating paper triggered fury among Tory MPs and Brexit campaigners while Ukip MEP Nigel Farage feared the proposals could turn Britain into an EU puppet regime comparable to the collaborationist Vichy government in France under the Nazis during the Second World War.

Mrs May’s transition period will be a worse form of EU membership during which the bully boys of Brussels can do what they want to us

Nigel Farage

The former Ukip leader said: “Mrs May’s transition period will be a worse form of EU membership during which the bully boys of Brussels can do what they want to us. We will be in Vichy Britain.”

During Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Mrs May was urged to stand up to the threat from Brussels.

She told MPs: “We will be robust in our arguments.

“As I have said right from the very beginning we will here noises off, we will hear all sorts of things being said about positions that are being taken.

“What matters is the positions we take in the negotiations as we sit down and negotiate the best deal. We’ve shown we can do that. We did it in December and we are going to do it again.”


During Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May was urged to stand up to the threat from Brussels

Senior Tory MP Sir William Cash, chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, had asked her: “Will she be good enough to be very robust when discussing these matters in the Brexit Committee, as I am sure that she will be, so that we ensure that we repudiate any of these EU threats?”

Away from the Commons chamber, other Tory Euro-sceptics were appalled by the latest negotiating demands from Brussels.

Senior backbencher Andrew Bridgen said: “The European Commission wants to be judge, jury and executioner. If this is a way of bullying the Government or the British people, they have misjudged it.”

Mr Bridgen urged the Prime Minister to scrap the current talks over the proposed two year “implementation phase” of adjustment after Brexit in response to the EU’s “posturing”.

He said: “We should forget talking about transition and get on with talking about a trade deal. If we don’t have an acceptable long-term relationship agreed, then we don’t need transition.”

Mr Bridgen said Euro-sceptic Tories would not support any trade deal that was worse less to the UK than the £39billion the country was having to pay to Brussels as a divorce settlement.

Under plans released by the European Commission, Brussels would be able to restrict the UK’s access to the single market without going through the lengthy European Court of Justice (ECJ) legal process.

The position paper on transitional arrangements in the withdrawal agreement said there should be a “mechanism” allowing the EU to “suspend certain benefits” of single market membership during the transition period.

Such a move would be considered if referring the matter to the ECJ “would not bring in time the necessary remedies”, according to the document, which sets out the EU’s position on a transition deal in legal language.

The document also said the UK would only be “consulted” when decisions are made on fishing quotas during the period.

And it went on to suggest Britain could face an extra bill for contributions to EU foreign policy, defence and security agencies during the transition period on top of the £39billion divorce payment agreed in December.

“In addition to the elements contained in the Joint report of 8 December 2017, the Financial Provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement should also cover the financing, during the transition period, of the relevant Common Foreign and Security Policy and Common Security and Defence Policy agencies or operations on the basis of the same contribution key as before the withdrawal date,” the document said.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has been clear we are having an implementation period to give certainty to business and ensure that we have a smooth Brexit.

“But once that implementation period is over we will be taking back control of our borders, of our laws and of our money and we will be able to strike free trade deals around the world.”

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