It is now time for the lion to show its teeth

Posted on 23rd October, 2017

This article was originally published in the Mail on Sunday on 22 October 2017.

Just one roar from the British lion, as Boris Johnson would put it, and Angela Merkel and Co have started to buckle.

Simply making it clear that we can and would walk away without an agreement has forced the EU to back down and start preparations for discussions on a post-Brexit trade deal.

We shouldn’t exaggerate what Brussels offered at last week’s summit. Those newly promised discussions on a trade deal will for the time being farcically not include us and be restricted to the 27 remaining EU members.

And overall, what was offered last week fell far short of what Theresa May had every right to expect. It was also worrying that Brussels still hasn’t realised that giving the European Court of Justice a say over the rights of EU-born citizens living here after Brexit is unacceptable.

But last week did show that the way to deal with the EU is to play hard but fair. Brussels will only begin to negotiate seriously when it realises how committed we are to going it alone. That is why the Prime Minister must speed up plans for a no-deal Brexit.

It’s no secret that I would have preferred Mrs May to tell the EU last week that she was suspending negotiations until Brussels got really serious.

But since she hasn’t done that, she must now make it absolutely clear to the EU27 that we are going full-steam ahead with preparations for no deal.

That means providing the cash now for everything from more port facilities to upgraded computer systems to manage our new trading relationship with the EU. With just one roar from London, Brussels backed down.

It is now time for the lion to show its teeth.

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