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The former Tory minister and Brexit Party MEP launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, accusing him of being too “weak” to capitalise of Brussels’ obvious desperation to tie up an agreement. With 40 days remaining before the end of the transition period, both sides are working feverishly to get a deal over the line, with suggestions one could be unveiled by the end of the month.
However, it has been suggested the European Commission, led by President Ursula von der Leyen, is ready to rush through a last-minute agreement without it being ratified by the European Parliament or individual member states.
Miss Widdecombe told Express.co.uk: “If they can really do that without all of the other countries being happy, that does say why we left the bloc.
“The fact is nobody is surprised any longer.
“The major reason we got out was so that we couldn’t be bossed around.
“But nobody is surprised when the EU just decides to shortcut consultations.”
The major reason we got out was so that we couldn’t be bossed around
She added: “The other thing it shows it that the EU is obviously desperate for a deal.
“And if Boris had any sense at all he would be using that.
“Because it is always being portrayed that no deal is a problem for Britain but it is obviously a massive problem for the EU, and they are desperate to avoid it.
“And were I Boris I would really be relying on that.
“I would simply say the issues that remain are the issues that have been troublesome all along – fishing, state aid and the ECJ.”
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Miss Widdecombe suggested huge problems remain which were unlikely to be resolved in the course of a few short days.
She said: “When people say 95 percent of the deal is done, 95 percent of the deal was always going to be done.
“The things that remain are the stumbling blocks and Boris now should say ‘it is obvious you don’t want a deal and are rushing it through, but you will get no deal unless you come to our terms’.
“The be-all and the end-all is that Boris is just weak.”
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Mr Johnson was desperate to get something signed off for the end of the year, said Miss Widdecombe.
“The fact is he hasn’t made any proper preparation to do otherwise and nor actually has the EU.
“Both of them say they have but they have not done in earnest because both sides are thinking they will come to some sort of deal.”
Any trade deal was likely to be a “threadbare arrangement” which amounted to an extension of the transition period in everything but name, Miss Widdecombe predicted.
She warned: “Boris is in the habit of simply extending deadlines and there are more ways than one of extending a deadline.
“They can say we have got a provisional deal and the rest will be tied up later – which is semantics. In other words, we haven’t actually got a deal.”
Mr Parsons told Sky News: “One thing that jumps out is something called provisional application.
“What that might mean is that if a deal is agreed at the last-minute, it’s put in place before it’s even ratified.
“One source told me that would be a very precarious option.”
A European Commission spokesman told Express.co.uk: “Negotiations are ongoing.
“We are working hard for a deal. We are not going to speculate about dates.
“Michel Barnier has always said that there must be time at the end of the negotiations for the European Parliament and Council to have their say on any potential deal.”
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