On Wednesday, EU leaders and UK Prime Minister Theresa May convened a two-day summit dedicated to pressing issues, including the Brexit talks. Sputnik spoke to Janice Atkinson, the independent member of European Parliament, about ongoing developments.
Sputnik: Once again EU talks have collapsed meaning Prime Minister Theresa May is now facing the very real prospect of no deal being reached by Wednesday’s deadline. Is this it then Keith… Is a no deal pretty much certain then?
Janice Atkinson: I think we’ve got to go back to Sunday when in a seemingly humiliating trip by Dominic Raab he ran over to Brussels for a one hour meeting. It was seen at the time as a last ditch attempt of securing a done deal to be announced on Monday, however, the EU negotiators were quite astonished by British intransigence over thinking the Brexit withdrawal bill with a trade deal and that contributed to the tensions and that’s, apparently, why we’ve got the stalemate we have. It was an interesting twist to the story and quite underreported really.
My question to Mrs. May is I mean I thought maybe she was growing a pair of balls and preparing for a no deal… maybe she’s telling the EU what we want via Dominic Raab… So then she went to the House of Commons yesterday and built up my hopes and many other Brexitiers and when she delivered her speech yesterday what did she sell them? It just sounded like snake oil. She said nothing and couldn’t even explain the end date to the backstop-backstop, and she had a very embarrassing performance which ended with no side backing her.READ MORE: Leaders of EU27 Note Lack of Progress in Brexit Talks — Source
When she goes to Brussels tomorrow and interestingly I’m in Brussels tomorrow as well, what she’s up against is her own civil servants briefing against what the country wants so maybe she’s backing the likes of Olly Robins. We’ve seen a flow of senior UK figures like Tony Blair, John Major, Vince Cable, Sturgeon, the Welsh Nationalists and even Sinn Fein of all people, as seen to be selling out the UK… Olly Robins and they have been telling Barnier to hold your nerve, we’ll get another vote, May isn’t strong — she’ll cave in so it’s in the EU’s interest to listen and act on their advice which is why they’re being so strong.
I don’t know what the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting is but maybe May is cahoots with Barnier and Robbins and he’s been sent over there to deliver her message. We really don’t know. Nobody has ever known the real truth of where this prime minister stands.
Sputnik: The Irish border issue remains the sticking point, with failure to agree on measures to prevent a hard border has thrown the timetable for reaching a Brexit deal into serious doubt. What approach should Britain take to deal with this problem?
Janice Atkinson: There’s never been a hard border! We have different taxes, different customs arrangements etc. so I don’t understand why this is such an issue, we have explained to people there are differences between the UK, Northern Ireland and Ireland, and there is very simple to this which is explained in the Canada+ deal, which I would prefer going forward. There are very easy ways which we can do this; electronically where we have a trusted trader scheme whereby checks are made periodically like rest of the world’s trade. This is a political problem — nasty pernicious problem that the EU are playing to their advantage and it seems to me it’s the only advantage they’ve got and Mrs May isn’t addressing these issues. There are plenty of papers out there produced by ‘Facts for EU’ and also David Campbell Bannerman, who’s been at the head of this, which I think now David Davies and his assistant Steve Baker are all pushing. Even people like me, who might be described as a hard brexitier, who would walk away tomorrow with WTO rules because I prefer to be an offshore Singapore — that’s what they fear the most. There really is no problem with Northern Ireland.
READ MORE: Irish Party Slams EU for Using Border Issue ‘As Weapon’ to Sabotage BrexitSputnik: For weeks now we’ve been looking at what effect Brexit will have on the prime minister’s legacy. What effect will this have on her personal legacy and position in the party and moreover the commons?
Janice Atkinson: We don’t know what she stands for. We never knew — even as Prime Minister and when she finally goes it will still be we never knew what she stood for. She will go down in history as ‘worst prime minister’ — even worse than John Major and that’s saying something. We need a Prime Minister that will stand up for global Britain and give us a vision of where we can be. Whether it’s Boris or Jacob Rees-Mogg or somebody else coming through, they need to give us a vision which is something we are sadly missing at the moment.