Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant accuses EU of lack of flexibility in Brexit talks

By Peter Madeley | Lichfield | Politics | Published: | Last Updated:

The EU has been accused of showing a "lack of flexibility" in the Brexit negotiations after trade talks between the two sides stalled.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said measures proposed by Brussels will be "costly and unbeneficial" to the UK, telling ministers that the bloc's stance shows why Britain voted to leave the EU in the first place.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has accused the UK of "cherry picking" in the talks by seeking a future relationship with Brussels that is very close to that of an EU member.

Britain left the EU in January and is currently in a transition period which ends in December, by which time Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to have thrashed out a new trade agreement.

Speaking in Cabinet Office questions, Tory MP Mr Fabricant said the "real problem" was that Mr Barnier has "absolutely no room for manoeuvre because he has to do what has been agreed with the other 27 countries".

He added: "And isn't this very lack of agility, this lack of flexibility, the very reason why we have decided to leave the European Union, and why companies like Nissan, and Unilever, who have announced today that they are centring their operations, here in the United Kingdom?"

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove replied: "My Honourable Friend puts it perfectly, and his question is its own answer. I don't think that we've heard from any sage of Lichfield since Dr Johnson, who has put things quite so well!"

Mr Fabricant later added: "It is this intransigence over fishing rights in UK waters for European Union fishermen, their insistence that we continue to abide by all future EU regulations, and continuing to pay into the future EU budget why seeking to extend the transition period beyond 2020 will be so costly and unbeneficial to the UK."

Mr Johnson has insisted he will not extend the Brexit transition period beyond the end of this year, although critics have warned that disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic will make securing a deal impossible.

Following the latest round of talks Mr Barnier said there had been "no significant areas" of progress.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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