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Brexit negotiations are being made 'needlessly complicated', ex-MP warns

By Dominic Robertson | Politics | Published:

A former Ludlow MP has said Brexit negotiations are destined to end in “no deal” or as “completely unacceptable”.

Christopher Gill

Christopher Gill has written to current Ludlow MP Philip Dunne to warn that negotiations with the EU are being made “needlessly complicated”.

Mr Gill, who was a key figure in a Conservative party rebellion which nearly brought down John Major’s government, has criticised the government’s actions following the referendum result, insisting the country did not vote to ‘negotiate to leave’.

Responding to the letter Mr Dunne said the country was in a “dynamic negotiation” and that he had received very encouraging signals from the Brexit secretary David Davies when pressed on the issue of progress in the House of Commons this week.

Mr Dunne had asked whether the government would be able to move beyond negotiations on transition arrangements after next week’s EU council meeting.

Mr Davies responded by saying: “On the implementation period, we have made significant progress in a number of areas, and although negotiations are still ongoing, we are confident ​that we can reach an agreement on that at next week’s EU Council.”

In his letter Mr Gill, who joined Ukip in 2006, said the government had not followed the instruction of the referendum, and thatHe said: “All sorts of spurious motives have been ascribed to the ‘Leavers’ – it has been suggested, for example, that we were predominantly old, male and white; that we didn’t understand the issues; that we were poorly educated or just plain ignorant; that we were swayed by false propaganda etc. etc.

“What, however, is incontrovertible is that the majority of those who voted on June 23, 2016, voted to ‘Leave’ – they didn’t vote to ‘Remain’, nor did they vote to ‘negotiate to Leave’, that option was not on the table but that is how the wrong-footed government, of which you were a member, chose to proceed.”

Mr Gill has used the letter to insist that the current form of negotiations would not work and with disagreements over a number of issues, including the Irish border.

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He said that the government had already “offered concessions and compromises that are, frankly, unacceptable and unaffordable”.

He said: “Surely, as a former businessman yourself, you can see that the negotiations that HMG is currently engaged in are destined to result in either ‘no deal’, or, as I fear, will be concluded on a completely unsatisfactory/unacceptable basis.

“The EU will not compromise on its ‘Four Freedoms’; it has categorically stated that it will not concede on the vexed question of access for the British financial services industry; it is being obdurate concerning the question of Irish borders; it has said that during any ‘transition period’ we will be subject to any and all new directives that come into force during that period (even though we will have had absolutely no say in their formulation) and, furthermore, that we will also be subject to ‘sanctions’ if we don’t toe the line !

“Already, we have given way on the question of immigration controls pending our eventual Brexit; conceded upwards of £38 billions by way of a severance payment; signed up to every aspect of the European Defence Union bar only PESCO; accepted the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (EUCJ) in certain areas for the time being, the continuance of the iniquitous European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in perpetuity and even, would you believe, apparently suggested that we would not insist on taking back complete control and jurisdiction of our own fishing waters out to 200 miles or the median line!”

Mr Gill said that the arguments of those against leaving the EU were making it needlessly complicated.

He said: “You may consider my views to be too simplistic, but the fact remains that it is only the politicians, former failed Prime Ministers, past and present Civil Servants, the bosses of multinational corporations and miscellaneous frustrated ‘Remainers’ – all aided and abetted by a blatantly biased broadcasting corporation – who are making matters needlessly complicated.”

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