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Express: Leave boss says Britain SHOULD walk away from Brexit talks

Date: 28 07 2017

‘We will not be EU’s pawn!’ Leave boss says Britain SHOULD walk away from Brexit talks

A LEADING Brexiteer has called for the UK to walk away from the Brussels negotiating table, claiming it is preferable to being “an EU pawn”.

Richard Tice, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, which represents more than 50 pro-Brexit Tory MPs, said the Government should not back down in the row over the European Courts of Justice.

The European Commission has demanded Britain continues to submit to the ECJ over citizen rights, trade, nuclear cooperation and other areas after Brexit, something Theresa May and her Brexit team are unwilling to do. 

And it has cast serious doubt over whether Brexit minister David Davis will be able to strike a future trade deal with the EU or walk away with nothing. 

But Mr Tice said the latter scenario is preferable over a future where Britain is still dicated to by the ECJ. 

He said: “The Government is right to set out their red lines in the negotiations and ensuring Britain is no longer dictated to by a foreign court must be one of them.

“No deal is much better than a bad deal with the EU.

“If the EU continues to act in such an unreasonable manner, Britain must be prepared to walk away from the negotiating table.

“The sooner we walk away the sooner everyone realizes that we are serious about being a great independent nation, trading under WTO rules, not being an EU pawn.”

The Prime Minister has also said she would be willing to walk away from the negotiating table without a deal. 

Earlier today a senior Government minister told the Express they believed there was “a very good chance” Britain could walk away from Brexit talks over the ECJ dispute. 

The minister said the impasse was “a very, very big problem indeed” and that “if they [the EU] don’t budge on that issue then we will have to walk away”.

However, the minister claimed a complete breakdown in the negotiations was unlikely because Brussels was “desperate for a deal” and would have to compromise if they thought Britain was ready to risk it without one.

Last week the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he could “see no other way” for the EU to agree on citizens’ rights apart from the UK submitting to rulings from the ECJ.

But UK Brexit minister Mr Davis has since reiterated his position that British courts should decide on EU citizens in the UK after Brexit.

He said: “We are intent that this should be put in an act in of parliament enforced by British courts and most importantly backed up by a treaty.

“When we, for example, sign a deal, let’s say with the United States, we don’t give the United States Supreme Court the right to enforce that.” 

Meanwhile, Leave Means Leave has carried out work which it claims shows Britain would be better off without an EU deal than with a bodged one. 

A paper written for the organisation by the former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, suggested British GDP would be boosted by £150 billion a year for 12 years with no deal by scrapping EU red tape and ending tariffs with the rest of the world.

The warning shot from the Government to the EU comes as a House of Lords Committee has conceded that Britain could continue with the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) arrangements even without staying in the ECJ.

Since its introduction, the UK has used the European Arrest Warrant to achieve the extradition of 1,000 individuals back to this country, including several high-profile criminals like Hussain Osman, who attempted to carry out a terror attack on the London Underground in 2005.

It had been claimed by Remainers that the legal agreements governing the EAW would be impossible to continue unless Britain submitted to the ECJ.

However, the study by the Lords’ European Union Committee showed bilateral agreements such as the ones being put in place with Norway and Iceland could be an alternative with a neutral political dispute resolution mechanism. 

It said that a transitional period before total Brexit would help put these new arrangements in place.

The committee raised concerns that the agreements with the Scandinavian countries have not yet been put in place but welcomed Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s assurances that continuing the EAW arrangements is “a priority”.

Meanwhile Chancellor Philip Hammond told ITV News he hopes talks on transition arrangements, including the EAW, can begin in the Autumn.

Asked how quickly a transitional deal could be done to give businesses certainty Mr Hammond said: “The European Union timeline is clear that we have to make sufficient progress on the initial set of issues that David Davis has been discussing in Brussels.

“We hope to have achieved that milestone by September or October, and we then expect to be able to go on to talk about this broader range of issues.”

“We hope to be able to deliver agreement about an interim arrangement with the EU as early as possible.” 

July 27th, 2017: Express