Politics

Brexit punishment: Belgian MEP vows UK will be forced to follow EU law in trade deal

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The Belgian MEP said the European Union will force the UK to follow EU law in a trade deal. His comments come as Boris Johnson has told Britons to get ready for a no deal Brexit. Phillipe Lamberts admitted EU states would be damaged by a no deal Brexit. But he vowed the single market cannot be compromised.

Sky News presenter Adam Boulton asked: “What would you say to those Conservatives who are saying ‘a no deal Brexit would damage the Europeans as much as it would damage us so they’re bound to blink first and give us what they want’.

Mr Lamberts said: “I would agree with the first part of that statement in a sense that yes, a no deal Brexit at the end of the transition will of course hurt the UK and the EU.

“I will not speak about the quantitative aspect of that damage and what that damage will be because it will be different for each state.

“Obviously countries that border on the UK will be more affected than others that’s a fact.

“Saying that we will blink in a sense that we will give up on vital interest and the integrity of the single market just to avoid short-term damage, their assumption is wrong.

“Of course there will be damage if the UK exits the transition period without a trade deal with the EU but breaching the intergrity of the single market will cause significantly higher damage than to the union for long-term.

“If we are to choose between two evils, we will choose the lesser one. The lesser one is a no deal Brexit.”

His comments come as trade talks between the UK and European Union remain in limbo despite further discussions between the two sides.

Lead negotiators Lord Frost and Michel Barnier spoke on Tuesday but Downing Street said there had not been a breakthrough.

Meanwhile the Government suffered a defeat in the House of Lords over controversial legislation that enables ministers to break international law by tearing up parts of the Brexit divorce deal Boris Johnson struck with Brussels.

Talks on the future trading relationship between the UK and EU stalled last week and Downing Street has insisted there is no point in resuming negotiations unless Brussels is prepared to fundamentally change its position in key areas.

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Brussels said both sides will need to compromise if an agreement is to be reached, with time running out for a deal to be in place when the transition arrangements expire at the end of the year.

European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters in Brussels: “I think it is pretty obvious that in order to come to an agreement both sides need to meet and this is also obviously the case in this negotiation.”

Following his talks with Lord Frost, Mr Barnier said: “My message: we should be making the most out of the little time left. Our door remains open.”

A Number 10 spokesman said: “Lord Frost and Michel Barnier had a constructive discussion.

“The situation remained as yesterday, and they will remain in contact.”

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