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Gloria de Piero and her colleagues on the opposition benches voted against the then Prime Minister’s deal. Its failure to pass through the Commons eventually led to Mrs May’s resignation and paved the way for Boris Johnson to enter Number 10. And with Mr Johnson now threatening to leave the EU without a trade deal, Ms de Piero now accepts she was wrong to dismiss Mrs May’s original deal.
I hold my hands up. I was an idiot for not voting for May’s deal
Gloria de Piero
She said she agreed Labour MPs should have voted for a deal when they had a chance and will bear a large part of the responsibility if the UK ends up leaving the EU without an agreement.
Ms de Piero, who stood down from Parliament at the last election after nine years as MP for Ashfield, Notts, tweeted: “This is true and I hold my hands up.
“I was an idiot for not voting for May’s deal.”
Her admission came as the UK warned the EU it was ramping up preparations to leave the bloc without an agreement as a fresh round of talks got underway.
Chief negotiator Lord Frost yet again insisted Britain was not afraid of a no deal exit.
He said: “We have now been talking for six months and can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground.
“We need to see more realism from the EU about our status as an independent country.
“If they can’t do that in the very limited time we have left then we will be trading on terms like those the EU has with Australia, and we are ramping up our preparations for the end of the year.”
The EU warned Britain its international reputation would be tarnished and there would be no trade deal amid reports Boris Johnson might simply override the Withdrawal Agreement treaty signed in January.
European diplomats said Britain was playing a game of Brexit chicken by threatening to collapse the process and challenging Brussels to compromise first.
But some fear Mr Johnson may view a no deal exit as useful distraction from the coronavirus crisis.
And ministers said the Government would be happy to leave the bloc without a deal unless Brussels showed more flexibility to help clinch a Canadian-style free trade deal.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenricksaid: “We want to leave with a Canada-style free trade arrangement – that’s always been our preference – and we think that’s still possible.
“But if they don’t show the degree of flexibility and realism that we want them to show then we’ll leave with the kind of trading arrangements that Australia and other countries have and we think that’s also a good arrangement for the future.”
The latest round of negotiations in London are likely to be tough with the UK blaming Brussels for failing to accept it is now an independent country – especially when it comes to fishing and state aid.
The EU maintains Britain cannot make its own rules and have preferential access to its markets at the same time.
And with a mid-October deadline for a deal looming, diplomats said the public rhetoric and posturing was to be expected.
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One Brussels insider said: “As you get closer to the deadline, it’s not surprising people ramp up the pressure.
“We all believe there has been movement by the EU towards the UK
position, but it hasn’t been reciprocated, and that’s the concern.
“So, time is running out. If we are to get the deal that everybody wants, given the number of open issues and given the amount of time left, any deal is looking thinner and thinner.”
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