Theresa May Brexit speech: 'The foreign office and treasury clearly don't understand the EU', says former Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe

'The foreign office and treasury clearly don't understand EU negotiating mentality', says MEP Steven Woolfe

Theresa May is giving a speech on Brexit today

Friday, September 22, 2017

Former Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe has criticised the government over Theresa May's speech in Florence today.

May's speech outlined what the UK wants to achieve in negotiations and attempted to strike a conciliatory tone, the Prime Minister saying she wants a two-year transition period and promising that Britain will honour its financial commitments to Brussels.

Ahead of the speech, Woolfe, who now stands as an independent, discussed the contents of the address, and the UK's overall approach to Brexit, with Paul Ross and Carole Malone.

He said: "When you have a divorce, you put your assets together and say ‘look, what have I contributed, and what I’m getting back'.

"It’s very clear about this so-called negotiation we have [that] the EU won’t offer us any of that back."

He also thinks the EU is "desperate for the money, so they make it as hard as possible for us so we offer them more and more.

"If we start offering this £20 billion, there are some people who are sitting there in the foreign office and the treasury think they understand the EU negotiating mentality.

"They clearly don’t, because these guys are going to be laughing all the way to the bank and saying ‘oh we’ve got the Brits worried now’."

He also said that when speaking to Michel Barnier in a meeting, he asked the EU's chief Brexit negotiator whether he had the talent, skills, ability, resources and people to "undertake negotiations on a free trade arrangement alongside the four points that you want to get settled first."

Woolfe claims Barnier told him he's legally "not permitted to do so." Therefore the MEP thinks it's "the 27 leaders of the other countries that are holding [Brexit negotiations] up."

Listen to the full interview above