Brexiteer campaigner warns of EU plans to EXPLOIT transition deal to keep UK tied to bloc
BREXITEER Richard Tice warned Britain the European Union could use the template of the Brexit transition period to establish a closer-than-expected relationship with the United Kingdom after Brexit.
Mr Tice, the co-chairman of the Leave means Leave campaign, argued that the transition deal helps Brussels maintain the status quo – something Brexiteers fear could force Britain more aligned to the bloc than expected after the Brexit vote.
He said: “It’s not even a transition, it’s an extension of the status quo for 21 months.
“My fear is the EU will use the transition template as the basis of the future trade deal.
“We’ve got to be prepared to walk away if that’s the case because frankly there are too many compromises being talked about.”
Last week Britain and the EU agreed on a Brexit transition deal, paving the way for future UK-EU trade talks after EU leaders formally backed the agreement at a summit in Brussels.
EU Commission leader Jean-Claude Juncker said the guidelines were adopted by EU leaders in under half a minute.
But Mr Tice dismissed talks of progress, saying the “only off-set” of the Brexit transition deal is Britain’s newly-acquired ability to strike trade deals with third-parties during the transition period.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Tice continued: “The only off-set is frankly the ability to negotiate trade deals. We are where we are but the real battle is in the next six months.
“There’s plenty of opportunities from Brexit but only if we do a sensible deal.”
EU leaders agreed that the transition period would start after the Brexit deadline on March 19 next year, and would last until the end of 2020.
During that time period, Britain’s membership of the single market and customs union will be frozen, giving businesses time in preparation for the UK exit, but the country will give up its EU voting rights.
The deal also laid bare the bones of the future UK-EU relationship, including cooperation on security, foreign policy and crime, and a free trade agreement.
March 29th, 2018: Express