Rout warn­ing over Brexit talks

Western Mail - - NEWS -

EU WITH­DRAWAL ne­go­ti­a­tions risk be­com­ing a “rout” un­less Theresa May’s Cab­i­net are will­ing to com­pro­mise at next week’s Che­quers sum­mit, a former Brexit min­is­ter has warned.

Con­ser­va­tive peer Lord Bridges warned that if min­is­ters were not ready to be hon­est about the po­si­tion the UK finds it­self in, “the game will be up”.

His com­ments, in an ar­ti­cle for the Evening Stan­dard, come a week ahead of next Fri­day’s sum­mit at the Prime Min­is­ter’s coun­try res­i­dence, where Mrs May hopes to se­cure Cab­i­net back­ing for her vi­sion for fu­ture re­la­tions with the EU.

Mean­while, a poll for the same pa­per found pub­lic con­fi­dence in Mrs May’s abil­ity to get a good deal from Brus­sels has fallen to a new low.

Just 30% of vot­ers ques­tioned by Ip­sos Mori said they were “con­fi­dent” of the PM se­cur­ing a good deal – down four points since last month – com­pared to 67% who said they were not con­fi­dent (up four).

Lord Bridges, who served as a min­is­ter in David Davis’s De­part­ment for Ex­it­ing the EU, said the Cab­i­net was cur­rently di­vided be­tween those who see sovereignty as the most im­por­tant is­sue and those re­gard­ing ac­cess to EU mar­kets as a big­ger pri­or­ity.

“If noth­ing changes, there’s a dan­ger the UK will have to agree to a with­drawal treaty full of waf­fle on our fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU,” warned Lord Bridges.

“With so lit­tle lever­age in the next phase, the ne­go­ti­a­tions would be­come a rout. Worse, uncer­tainty will drag on, dam­ag­ing our econ­omy.”

PA

> Lord Bridges

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