Brexit talks have reached a critical juncture with Boris Johnson preparing to meet European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen today. The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted he will walk away rather than signing Britain up to a bad trade deal.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph Sir Iain argued Brussels needs to accept the UK as a fully sovereign nation.
He said: “The stark truth that this exposes that the phrase ‘trade deal’ is a misnomer, the reality is that this is all about sovereignty.
“From the beginning, it has been clear, whilst the UK wants a trade deal, EU wants to control us.
“Either the UK is sovereign or it is not.
“The British people voted to be sovereign, not semi-detached from the EU obeying their rules and their court.”
Negotiations are currently deadlocked over European access to British fishing waters, how far the UK will be able to deviate from European ‘level playing field’ regulations and what body will ensure both sides are compliant with the deal.
Currently around two-thirds of the fish caught in British territorial waters are taken by EU boats.
The UK is also strongly opposed to any oversight over the agreement from the European Court of Justice, insisting a neutral body should be responsible instead.
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“The point is, the EU would decide if the UK has diverged without independent arbitration.
“Worse, the second part of their demands is that the ECJ is free to re-interpret such rules, as they do at present.
“This would amount to a licence to change the effect of such rules in the years to come, with the UK being tugged along by the EU’s ratchet.”
Whilst Britain formally left the EU in January it remains in a Brexit transition period until the end of the year.
During this time the UK continues to pay into the EU budget and accept many rules made in Brussels.
In return Britain continues to have full access to the European single market.
If negotiations breakdown from January 1 the UK will trade with the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
This means significant tariffs will be placed on the trade of certain goods.
In his article Sir Iain argued the UK should be prepared to walk away unless Brussels makes concessions.
He wrote: “So as the PM has one more go, with our goodwill behind him, he will surely remember the words of Kenny Rogers…. that means, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em and most of all, Know when to walk away.”