Just before the next round of negotiations, the Leave Means Leave group has written to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other Brussels bigwigs telling them “no amount of threats, scaremongering and bullying” will make Britain reverse the referendum result.
It states: “Far from regretting our decision, as you have said, increasingly the British public is looking forward to the day when we regain the freedom fully to govern ourselves.”
In the open letter, signed by Brexit Minister David Jones and Tory MP Owen Patterson among others, Brussels is urged to agree “a new deep and special partnership” – or face the consequences.
Calling for a “change in attitude”, the letter warns Brussels against continuing to obstruct negotiations, insisting its position is at odds with the wishes of the 27 other European Union countries.
It also says Britain will not be forced into a bad deal and that any attempts to “punish” the UK will fail.
The letter refers to a recent poll which found that two thirds of Britons believe the EU is trying to “bully” Britain, with 49 per cent of Remain voters deploring the EU’s behaviour.
Warning that Britain could revert to trading under World Trade Organisation rules the letter states: “WTO rules would be extremely damaging to the EU27, with the German automotive industry losing nearly 8billion euros in annual revenues and 30,000 jobs, and Irish beef and dairy exports potentially declining by half.”
Calling for an end to the “far-fetched and hostile threats” issued by Brussels in proposals for the implementation period, such as the power to ground fl ights, suspend market access and impose trade tariffs, the letter says such bullying “only serves to harden the resolve of our people to make Brexit happen”.
It also takes aim at arch-Remainers like former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, adding: “Do not allow yourselves to be taken in by a noisy minority of the UK political elite seeking to subvert the result of the referendum and derail Brexit.
“They will not succeed.”
The letter calls on the Commission to stop “cheap political posturing” and forge “a new deep and special partnership” proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May.
It adds: “The alternative is that we just leave, in which case the people of the UK will simply not tolerate paying to the EU the large sums being talked about under the implementation period.
“The most common sentiment to be heard on the doorsteps of our country is ‘Why don’t they just get on with it?’ “Now is the time to get on with it and that means a sensible and fair implementation period, preceded by a swift move to a free trade agreement. Since our markets are already fully aligned, we see no reason why that cannot be rapidly achieved.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis will meet EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier tomorrow before Thursday’s EU Council meeting when “future relationship” guidelines are expected to be agreed that would allow trade talks to start.
The UK hopes to reach agreement on a transition deal, for the period after Brexit Day on March 29, 2019.