Leading eurosceptic praises Theresa May's 'grown-up' approach to Brexit - but says EU wants to punish us

Brexit: 'EU should have heard enough in Florence speech to get on with trade talks', says think tank

Theresa May gave a speech on Brexit in Florence last month

Friday, October 13, 2017

A leading eurosceptic commentator has praised Theresa May for her 'grown up" approach to the Brexit negotiations - but warned that the European Union is desperate to punish Britain.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said Brexit talks have reached deadlock, centring on the UK's so-called 'divorce bill', and so there is currently no reason to move on to the next stage of negotiations.

Henry Newman, the director of thinktank Open Europe, told Julia Hartley-Brewer "I think at Florence [Theresa May] produced a pretty grown up compromise" by suggesting Britain will still pay into the EU during the post-Brexit transition period.

"I think on the basis of that, the EU should have heard enough to say 'let’s get on with talking about the future and the trade.'"

However, he believes "the EU is enjoying putting pressure on the UK and trying to make us squirm a bit, and I think obviously we’re all playing into that quite easily.

"The problem that the UK has is that while the EU 27 may not agree on a lot of things, the Polish foreign secretary told me that the whole of the EU agrees the UK should be made to pay as much money as possible for as long as possible."

Despite this he is "confident that we can get through this stage" in negotiations and "if we end up paying some money now, over the next few years, but the vast contributions come to an end as [May] suggested in the future then... I think a lot of people will be happy with that."

LIsten to the full interview above