Mark Francois: ‘Plain as a pikestaff’ Withdrawal Agreement is dead

He has warned Tory MPs not to frustrate Brexit

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Mark Francois said he supports Boris Johnson’s pledge not to speak with the European Union until it drops the Irish backstop.

The Conservative MP told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer it is “plain as a pikestaff” the current Withdrawal Agreement will never get through the House of Commons.

“I don’t think the EU will want to drop the backstop I think that’ll be too big for them to swallow. But I think what they might do is say you must keep the backstop but we will give you a sunset clause,” he said.

Mr Francois said a sunset clause that would expire after a few years would be “completely unacceptable” to Parliament and he expects Mr Johnson would also reject such an offer.

The Rayleigh and Wickford MP said Mr Johnson’s ascension to the leadership has “fundamentally changed” the situation.

“Theresa May voted remain, she never really believed in Brexit. She saw the whole thing as a damage limitation exercise rather than an opportunity and we negotiated appallingly,” she said.

“We were completely on the back foot right from the word go and the EU were all over us. What’s different now is you have a Prime Minister who campaigned to leave, who voted to leave, who wants to leave and is not a soft touch.”

He added: “Boris is the one person all of those politicians on the continent have ever been frightened of, why do you think I voted for him?”

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