Brexit news: Dominic Raab slams Remainers as EU PAWNS | Politics | News – UK



In heated exchanges at a hearing of the European Scrutiny Committee, the Brexit secretary lashed out at claims made by Labour MP Stephen Kinnock that Mr Barnier had said the Chequers proposals were “dead in the water”.

Mr Kinnock, a leading Remainer, had been part of the delegation of MPs on the Brexit committee including Jacob Rees-Mogg who met Mr Barnier on Monday.

He asked: “Don’t you think it would be the responsible thing to have a plan B and take Mr Barnier at his word that this is dead in the water?”

Suggesting that MPs were being used, Mr Raab responded: “I think you are being drawn in too much to the pressure exercise [by the EU on the UK].”

He pointed out that he had three meetings with Mr Barnier in August alone.

“So I do understand first hand what the EU’s position is,” he added.

The Brexit secretary also made it clear that the controversial Chequers plans were the only offer from Britain on the table otherwise there will be “no deal”.

He told MPs: “We have been very clear. Firstly we are not going to roll over just because there is some traction and static on what we think is not only a good deal for the UK but also a good deal for the EU.

“And equally we have also made it clear that if we don’t see the ambition, the pragmatism, the energy which we are genuinely trying to bring to this negotiation to bridge the gap with our EU partners then it is right to say we need to be prepared for the no deal scenario.”

Earlier he had told the committee that Northern Ireland is also being used as a political tool by Mr Barnier and the European Commission.

Mr Raab said some within the EU saw the issue of a hard Irish border as a political “pressure point” and were using it to their advantage in negotiations.

Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey had outlined current arrangements across the border, including cameras, food standards checks, and cross-border work on smuggling.

Describing the border issue as “ridiculously over-hyped”, she added: “All of these things with us leaving the EU are no different, really, (and) can be solved by genuine co-operation and the willingness to make it work. Do you understand why some people perhaps are using this as an issue to make it as difficult as possible?”

Mr Raab replied that a “regulatory border” was different to a hard border and the Government did not wish to see “additional substantive infrastructure”.

He said: “There are clearly some in some quarters of the EU who appreciate this is a political pressure point on the UK.

“And this is a negotiation, people apply pressure points and I think you are right about that.”



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