Brexit: Priti Patel dismisses claims on security issues
And Tory MP John Baron told Express.co.uk it would be far better for the Prime Minister to walk away from the negotiating table than sign up for something he would later regret. Mr Baron, the Tory MP for Basildon and Billericay in Essex, was speaking on the day Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed the UK and EU were in the “tunnel” a technical term for the final stages of negotiations, as EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier tweeted: “Good progress, but last stumbling blocks remain.”
Nevertheless Mr Baron, a staunch campaigner for Leave in the 2016 referendum, said it was important not to do a deal for the sake of it.
He said: “The people voted for a clean break with the EU.
“I commend the Prime Minister for not compromising on our sovereignty regarding the trade talks.
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“We do not want to sign up to something we later regret. No deal is better than a bad deal.
“We trade profitably with much of the world on no deal or Australia-style terms, as does the EU.
“We must retain sovereignty of our waters and not have to follow EU rules and regulations.”
Speaking to LBC today, Ms Patel said: “First of all, the Prime Minister and the Government, we’ve all been very clear we are not walking away, we will continue to negotiate to get this free-trade agreement.
“We are in that tunnel of negotiation and our teams continue to work incredibly hard.”
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament yesterday the two sides had moved closer to clinching a trade deal.
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She said: “I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not.
“But I can tell you that there is a path to an agreement now.
“The path may be very narrow but it is there.”
Hardline Brexiteers both inside and outside the Conservative Party remain anxious at the possibility of Mr Johnson compromising on the key issues.
Speaking last week, Mark Littlewood said any deal the Prime Minister signs up to at this late stage would put him at risk from members of the European Research Group (ERG), as well as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
He said: “I think two things would happen if we did a deal which heavily compromises British sovereignty over regulations and how they are policed.
“First the ERG would most decidedly gear up again – they are designed to be a safety valve when the Government is going off-piste on this.
“The other thing is Nigel Farage – if the swathe of people who are keen to get this resolved feel that the resolution is not what they supported or voted for then the Prime Minister does not really have a problem with his backbenches, he has a problem with a large number of people potentially saying that Brexit has not been completed and delivered and done and will need a further retreat from whatever treaty he has brought home.”
Express.co.uk has been told similar things by a Westminster insider, with one MP privately acknowledging Brexiteers believed Mr Johnson’s tenure would be over if he signed up to anything they saw as a capitulation.
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