Brexit: EU ‘hasn’t budged an inch’ says Iain Duncan Smith
The former Conservative Party leader vented his fury during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday morning. He outlined how the UK is a “huge exporter of services” and attacked the EU for “point-blank” refusing to give British negotiators equivalence in trade deal negotiations. Sir Iain accused Brussels of “an act of bad faith” and warned the EU would “absolutely have control” and leave Britain in a position of no longer being a sovereign country.
The Brexiteer told the today programme: “The car industry is very important but it is one small part of the UK’s whole export market.
“The truth is, for example, the EU has shown bad faith on services.
“We are a huge exporter of services now, with 60 percent of our exports.
“The EU has absolutely refused point blank to give us what we would call equivalence which they have given to other nations so that our regulations and our rules are seen to be equivalent to their own.
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“That was an act of bad faith.
“This is not just one way, with the UK Government having to give up some stuff. The fact is the EU has not budged one inch.
“The EU would absolutely have control – we would not be able to say we are a sovereign country and make our own decisions if we had to stay within some kind of fishing policy run by the EU and if we have to take their regulations adjudicated by their courts.”
The former Conservative leader reiterated the outstanding issues in the ongoing negotiations with the EU are more about sovereignty and not trade.
He continued: “I think at the moment the problem that the Prime Minister faces is that this is not any longer about a trade deal – a trade deal is sitting in the wings.
“What this is all about is sovereignty, the question of how far can the EU insist that their courts and their rules and their regulations apply to the UK as we go forward, leaving the UK trapped in the orbit of the EU without any say, and that’s simply unacceptable to the Prime Minister.”
The former Cabinet minister also said he continues to trust Boris Johnson to get the best trade deal for the UK as the negotiations with the EU enter their final stage.
He added: “I completely trust him in the sense that, here is the man who wrote the manifesto and the manifesto was clear that the sovereign right of the United Kingdom to make trade deals and, where necessary, to diverge from EU regulations is in the hands of the UK Government.”
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Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Sir Iain said the phrase “trade deal” is a “misnomer” and that it is all down to the UK retaining its sovereignty, again accusing the EU of wanting to gain control and trying to trap Britain.
The Brexiteer wrote: “The stark truth that this exposes is that the phrase ‘trade deal’ is a misnomer, the reality is that this is all about sovereignty.
“From the beginning, it has been clear, whilst the UK wants a trade deal, EU wants to control us.
“Either the UK is sovereign or it is not. The British people voted to be sovereign, not semi-detached from the EU obeying their rules and their court.”
“At the end of these negotiations, the Government knows these manifesto pledges to the British people must have a positive answer.
“Will the UK exit as one United Kingdom, setting its own tariffs and trade deals? Have the UK broken free of the European Court and taken back control of its laws? Will the UK have cooperation but not political alignment with the EU? Is the UK out of the Single market and Customs union, able to take back control of our money, our trade and our fishing?
“So as the PM has one more go, with our goodwill behind him, he will surely remember the words of Kenny Rogers….that means, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em and most of all, Know when to walk away.”
The latest comments from Sir Iain come as Mr Johnson travels to Brussels for crunch face-to-face talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a desperate bid to make a breakthrough in post-Brexit trade talks.
The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost has been locked in talks with EU counterpart Michel Barnier over recent weeks in a race to have a trade deal agreed before Britain fully cuts ties with the bloc from January 1, 2021.
But significant differences still remain, predominantly around fishing rights, state aid and the EU’s level playing field.
France had been particularly vocal on the issue of fishing access for its fishermen after Brexit and has suggested it could veto any agreement if its demands are not met by the UK.
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