Theresa May blamed for stalemate in Brexit talks by fuming Tory MP: ‘She spoiled EU!’
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This was a claim made by Andrew Bridgen – a Brexiter Tory MP – as he told Express.co.uk why the Brexit trade talks deadlock has persisted despite the threat of a no deal scenario. He believes the EU “cannot be blamed” for holding out and anticipating the UK might offer concessions, because former Prime Minister May’s two extensions have given them reason to believe it will happen again. The MP for North West Leicestershire said: “The fact is the EU has been spoiled during the negotiations for the withdrawal agreement by Theresa May.
“Now they have David Frost to deal with, who is consistent.”
The first extension was granted on March 21, 2019. The UK and the EU agreed to extend Article 50 until either May 22, subject to MPs approving the Withdrawal Agreement, or failing that until April 12.
After MPs rejected the deal for the third time, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to President of the European Council Donald Tusk requesting a second extension until June 30, 2019.
The EU27 agreed two options – an extension until June 1 if the UK failed to hold European Parliament elections – or an extension to October 31 if it did.
Then it was Boris Johnson’s turn to secure an extension to the withdrawal deadline.
On October 19, 2019, the Government tried to hold a meaningful vote on the deal Boris Johnson renegotiated with the EU.
However, MPs passed an amendment from Oliver Letwin which made clear that MPs would withhold their approval of the Withdrawal Agreement until its bill had been passed.
As a result, the Prime Minister wrote to Donald Tusk requesting an extension until January 31, 2020.
Mr Bridgen believes that even if there was an extension, the UK would gain nothing.
He added: “We extended and extended, but what did that get us? Nothing.
“You can understand why the EU, thinking every time they’ve given us a deadline we’ve extended under Theresa May, you can’t blame them for trying with Johnson.”
The Tory Brexiter also argued that this is why he was against an extension to the transition period, as some have suggested.
Some have argued for this because of the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the Government should extend the transition to focus on dealing with the health crisis.
However, the Prime Minister has rejected this idea.
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Mr Bridgen added: “I’ve always argued that we wouldn’t get any sense out of the EU on the negotiations and the transition period until all hope of an extension was extinguished, which I think it just about is now.
“Now they have accepted we are leaving the transition period in December, the real negotiations can start.”
The current standoff has centred around regulatory alignment and fisheries.
During the referendum campaign in 2016, leavers such as Boris Johnson vowed that the UK will be free from EU regulation and will take full control of its fishing grounds.
While the PM wants a trade deal, the EU’s negotiator – Michel Barnier – has told the UK it must accept a “level playing field” and leave its fishing grounds open if it is to keep access to European markets.’
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