Nigel Farage reveals his ‘fear’ over Brexit
The UK and EU remain locked in trade deal negotiations in London stretching deep into Friday evening in a desperate bid to make a breakthrough that could secure an agreement after Brexit. Michel Barnier and Lord Frost have paused talks with Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to hold a further showdown on Saturday in a bit to break the deadlock. There are fears trade talks are on the verge of collapse with a senior Number 10 source claiming on Thursday evening Brussels was calling for fresh concessions at the 11th hour and that the prospect of an agreement was “receding”.
Significant gaps still remain, one of which is around the amount of access EU fishermen will have into British waters after Brexit and how much of their catch they will be allowed to keep.
Mr Macron has become an increasingly vocal voice in this debate, repeatedly lashing out at the UK’s negotiating stance on the issue, and is believed to want the EU to walk away from trade talks with the UK in the hope Britain would return next year in a desperate bid to agree new terms.
Brexiteer and political commentator Patrick O’Flynn launched a scathing attack against French leader and argued if he believed the British Prime Minister would beg then Mr Macron was “far less astute” than many give him credit for.
Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Mr O’Flynn said: “It is France – our nearest mainland European neighbour and favourite historical foe – that views our repatriation of national sovereignty as unconscionable.
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“President Emmanuel Macron is said to believe that the EU side should walk away without a deal and then wait for a chastened UK to come crawling back desperate to agree terms early in 2021. Perhaps he envisages making Versailles available for the signing of the final accord, with a ‘Brexit Guilt’ clause prominent within it.
“If he genuinely thinks Britain is likely to buckle given an early taste of what no deal means, then he is a far less astute reader of international affairs than many have given him credit for.
“The truth is that were Britain to go into 2021 with a no deal outcome – what the Prime Minister likes to call Australian trading terms – and to undergo all the awkward adjustments that would entail, there is almost no prospect of it later wishing to dilute its sovereignty gains in return for less friction in the trading system.
“For Boris Johnson to return, cap in hand as it were, to Brussels ready to enter new obligations on access to UK fishing stocks, state aid rules or enforcement mechanisms involving the European Court of Justice would be politically fatal to him.
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“Because he would have infringed the most essential aspect of our island story by failing to repel the expansionist ambitions of foreign powers, casting himself as a Chamberlain or a Heath rather than a Churchill or Thatcher.
“Not only would Nigel Farage have a field day, but the patriotic Red Wall voters who backed Boris to ‘Get Brexit Done’ would surely turn away in disgust.”
Mr O’Flynn admitted a no-deal outcome would present the UK with “some economic and other difficulties, but these are not insurmountable”, warning the likes of Mr Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel such a scenario would cost them “a lot of political capital”.
He continued: “To expect Britain to go through the pain barrier and then decide to partially “un-Brexit”, would be akin to asking a dental patient to go back to the surgery to have root canal work reversed. It isn’t going to happen.
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“And what would Mr Macron and the other European leaders be left with? For starters, trade friction of their own covering exports into one of their hitherto most lucrative and largest markets.
“In the case of Germany, which runs a huge bilateral trading surplus in manufacturing goods with the UK, that would be a major domestic political issue. Such an outcome flowing from the intransigence of the President of France would surely cost Macron a lot of political capital with Angela Merkel and other European leaders too.
“Another by-product of No Deal would be no agreed access whatever from the start of next month to UK waters for French and other European fishing fleets.
“In the round, ending the transition period without an agreement would also see the one thing the EU has been most anxious to avoid – the emergence of a major economic competitor on its doorstep that is wholly unrestrained by regulatory agreements about everything from employment conditions to environmental standards.”
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In a final stinging attack on the French President, Mr O’Flynn concluded: “With the next French presidential election due in less than 18 months, there can be little doubt that everything major stance Macron is taking is being adopted with at least one eye on his re-election prospects.
“In some areas – such as the need to combat radical Islamists – this has led him to advance commendable policies.
“But in the case of Brexit it has led to him becoming the proverbial spanner in the works. Perhaps he is merely showboating and bluffing. But perhaps he isn’t and perhaps there really is no deal to be done.
“One thing for sure is that Boris Johnson cannot afford to blink now.”
Published at Fri, 04 Dec 2020 21:12:00 +0000