May MUST be ready to walk out of Brexit talks WITHOUT a deal, senior Tory warns
Theresa May must prepare heself to leave all talks if no good deal can be secured
Syed Kamall, leader of the Conservative MEPs, urged the Prime Minister to be ready to face down demands from European leaders for an EU exit deal that would punish the UK for voting to leave the bloc.
And he predicted that Mrs May will prove a “tough and shrewd negotiator” when the departure talks start this spring.
He made his intervention as Downing Street confirmed that the Prime Minister will deliver a keynote speech on her vision for Brexit next week.
Mrs May is expected to make clear that regaining full control of immigration will be her top priority for Britain’s future outside the EU.
We should enter these negotiations with an intention to succeed but not being afraid to walk away
She is also understood to be poised to say that she is ready to pull the country out of the EU’s single market unless European leaders accept that Britain can curb free movement of EU citizens.
Mr Kamall advised Theresa May to be ready to fight hard in the negotiations, which will begin after she triggers the EU’s Article 50 departure clause.
“We should enter these negotiations with an intention to succeed but not being afraid to walk away if we don’t get a deal we are happy with,” the MEP wrote in an article on the Eurosceptic internet site Brexit Central.
The PM must be ready to face down EU demands if they want to punish the UK
If EU leaders want to impose draconian terms in an exit deal, Britain should be ready to simply trade with the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which would allow some tariffs on imports and exports.
“At some stage, the UK Government may have to make it clear that we will not simply accept any deal and would be prepared to walk away and settle for a WTO relationship with the EU, even though we would prefer a tailored EU-UK deal,” Mr Kamall said.
Some European leaders, including French President Francois Hollande, have argued that the UK should be “punished” with harsh exit terms to scare other EU member nations away from holding referendums on their membership.
Mr Kamall predicted the negotiations would require “a cool head and a steady hand” in the talks.
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Mrs May realises that she is frustrating EU leaders as well as the opposition, over Brexit
“Fortunately, Theresa May has both,” the MEP said.
“She has a reputation in Brussels as a tough and shrewd negotiator.
“Her time as Home Secretary is recalled when she took the UK out of the Justice and Home Affairs chapter of the Lisbon Treaty, then opted back into individual measures where she felt in was in our interest to co-operate.
“While Labour, Lib Dems and some Conservatives who wish to block Brexit will criticise every move by the Prime Minister, my hope is that those who voted for Brexit put aside their impatience and not cramp her style.
Brexiteers need to rally behind the PM to get the UK out of the EU
“Be patient, give her room to manoeuvre, space to breathe and time to tune our demands.
“For every detail given in public of our position is a hostage to fortune, an advantage handed to other side, a stick to beat our negotiators and our PM with.”
He added: “The PM may be doing things the hard way, but she is doing them the best way.
“She knows her principled “no running commentary” mantra means a long, rocky road, but she is battling her way along it.
Brussels recognises Mrs May as a tough negotiator
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“She realises she is frustrating EU officials, the opposition, Brexiteers and the media for good measure.
“Too bad, because she is determined to ignore the siren voices and do what is best for Britain.
“Quite simply, the Prime Minister deserves our support and much, much more of our understanding than she has had so far – from inside her own party as well as outside of it.”
Hopes that the UK will quickly agree a new trade deal with the US after Brexit were boosted last night by a businessman tipped to be Donald Trump’s ambassador to the EU.
The Prime Minister is expected to make a speech on Tuesday
Ted Malloch, who is expected to be confirmed in the post by the President-Elect soon, told the BBC Daily Politics show: “The UK is now at the front of the queue.”
Mrs May’s official spokeswoman yesterday confirmed that her keynote Brexit speech will take place next Tuesday.
The spokeswoman said: “She will be making a speech on Tuesday, setting out more on our approach to Brexit, as part of preparing for the negotiations and in line with our approach for global Britain and continuing to be an outward-looking nation.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis are contributing to the content of the address, which opposition parties hope will end months of secrecy over the Government’s exit plans.