Conservative MEP slams UK Government over Brexit at Lisbon lunch

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Charles Tannock, the Pro-European Conservative MEP has criticised the way the British Government is dealing with Brexit and its hard Brexit line.


Addressing the International Club of Portugal (ICPT) on Friday, Charles Tannock said there was no doubt that the UK would leave the European Union, but said that a trading deal along the lines of the one Canada has with the EU might be the best option going forward.

“A hard Brexit means leaving the European Union without access to the single market and is an issue that is creating deep divisions within Teresa May’s government,” he said, adding that the prime minister seemed to be kicking key issues (such as a possible hard customs border between Eire and Northern Ireland) into the “long grass.” Tannock said Mrs May couldn’t expect to get preferential treatment from Brussels and “have her cake and eat it.”

“Since the start Mrs. May has pushed for the hardest Brexit possible, but her government has never had a mandate for a hard Brexit,” he said adding that the results of the 2016 referendum had reflected great electoral divisions regarding Britain’s exit from the EU.”

He called the notion of Britain leaving the EU to forge an independent path in the world and emphasising its links with the commonwealth as “preposterous” and said it would be like Portugal leaving the EU  – the world’s largest economic market — to focus its trade on its former Colonies.     

Fifty-two per cent of the electorate voted in favour of Brexit and 48 against after a campaign of lies, false promises (He gave the example of the 350 million pounds per week currently sent to Brussels which would be spent on the National Health Service) and public opinion manipulation.”

Charles Tannock said Brexit would have a severe economic impact given that 45% of UK foreign trade is with the EU, a percentage that rises to 62% when considering the bi-lateral trade deals the EU has with third-party countries.”

When asked if there could be a second referendum, the UK MEP said, “I doubt it, in politics you never know, but I’m not optimistic.”