Speaking at the Brexit Committee in Westminster on 25 October, Sammy told the Secretary of State for exiting the EU that it was important that EU negotiators understood that the UK would walk away from negotiations if it became apparent that talks were being stretched out in the hope that a change of Government would lead to a change in policy of leaving the EU.
He questioned the need for an interim arrangement which in effect simply prolonged our membership of the EU without an ability to influence laws, budgets or decisions. An open ended interim period would only encourage EU negotiators to stretch out negotiations. In fact this appeared to be their tactics already with Donald Tusk stating yesterday that “Britain can walk away from Brexit”. It is clear that the EU negotiators are encouraging member states not to move on to talk about the shape of any future relationship between the EU and the UK because they believe that lack of progress will sap our will to fight for a complete break with the EU.
The only way to persuade them to seriously negotiate is to make it clear we are prepared to walk away without a deal, and we are spending money and effort to set up the necessary arrangements for such a scenario based on controls to impose tariffs on goods from the EU and will finance those arrangements from money saved by not having any financial commitments to the EU in the event of no deal.
EU States can then prepare for the immediate black hole in their budget, the trade implications for many of their industries and regions, and the impact on their economies or else get real by gracefully accepting that the UK is leaving and negotiate arrangements which benefit both sides. The EU country which should be leading the call for realism is the Irish Republic whose economy stands to lose most from no deal. It cannot even get most of its exports to EU countries without first going through the UK so it needs arrangements in place to avoid the problems of moving goods from one EU country to another through a non EU country. Hopefully the Irish government which is being uncooperative at the moment will see that its interests lie in promoting the negotiating objectives of the UK which as the Secretary of State said today were designed to aid the Irish economy which would be most impacted by our leaving because so much of its trade was with the UK or through the UK.
Leaving the EU should not require long negotiations. A previous EU trade commissioner has already admitted this. The Government must give a clear signal that we expect no more messing from the Europhiles fighting a rearguard action to fend off a defeat as Donald Tusk described it yesterday.