The former Tory minister and Brexit MEP launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, accusing him of being too ‘weak’ to capitalize on Brussels’ obvious desperation to strike a deal. With 40 days to go until the end of the transition period, both sides are working feverishly to reach an agreement on the line, with suggestions that could be unveiled by the end of the month.
“The point is, no one is surprised anymore.
“The main reason we went out was so that we couldn’t be directed.
“But no one is surprised when the EU simply decides to shorten the consultations. “
She added: “The other thing, it shows that the EU is clearly desperate for a deal.
“And if Boris made any sense, he would use it.
“Because it’s always described that no deal is a problem for Britain, but obviously it’s a huge problem for the EU, and they desperately want to avoid it.
“And if I was Boris, I would really count on it.
“I would just say that the problems that remain are the problems that have always been problematic – fisheries, state aid and the ECJ. ”
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Mr Johnson was desperate to get something signed for the end of the year, Miss Widdecombe said.
“The point is, he didn’t do any proper preparation to do otherwise and neither did the EU.
“Both say they did it but they didn’t seriously because both sides think they will come to some kind of agreement. ”
Any trade deal was presumably an “exhausted arrangement” which amounted to an extension of the transition period in everything but the name, Miss Widdecombe predicted.
She warned: “Boris has a habit of just extending deadlines and there are more ways than extending a deadline.
“They can say we have a tentative deal and the rest will be tied up later – which is semantics. In other words, we don’t really agree. ”
Mr Parsons told Sky News: “One thing that is quite obvious is what is called interim application.
“What that could mean is that if a deal is done at the last minute, it gets put in place before it’s even ratified.
“A source told me it would be a very precarious option. ”
A spokesperson for the European Commission told Express.co.uk: “Negotiations are ongoing.
“We are working hard for a deal. We are not going to speculate on the dates.
“Michel Barnier has always said that there should be time at the end of the negotiations for the European Parliament and the Council to have their say on any potential agreement. “