Iain Duncan Smith claimed that the unified front displayed by the EU27 will falter as soon as Britain ditches the EU at the end of October. Speaking on the BBC’s HardTalk, the Tory MP, who managed Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, said secret talks with EU member-states showed a growing frustration towards Brussels. He predicted a shock revolt of European member-states against the leadership in Brussels, once the EU economies start to crumble under pressure.
Boris Johnson has recently ramped up preparations for a no deal Brexit, insisting the UK must leave by the October 31 deadline.
HardTalk’s host Stephen Sackur claimed that Britain would “have to go back to the EU and ask for a free trade agreement” if they left without a deal.
Sackur then suggested that Brussels would not back down “unless they get what they want – the backstop in Ireland and the £39bn of financial obligations”.
Mr Smith fired back at this: “In that case, we won’t do a free trade with them and guess who is damaged from that? The EU. They are disproportionately damaged by that.”
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The Tory MP said that a recently retired German MEP Otto Henkel was one of the few figures in the EU who was brave enough to blame the EU for the Brexit deadlock.
He explained: “Henkel said the UK leaving the EU is not just some small country.
“It is the equivalent of 19 or 20 of the smaller EU member states, two-third of the entire bloc, leaving at once.
“The damage to the EU economically will be dramatic and psychologically as well.
“The blame lies with the Commission for failing to recognising they need to do a deal.
“If we leave the EU because they didn’t want to make arrangements, they must take the consequences of what happens next – the loss of their markets here.”
Mr Smith added: “They won’t move before we leave. If they did move, that would astonish me.
“But after we leave, they will have to make a trade deal with the UK because all of the other countries whose jobs are at risks will be demanding they reach some sort of trade arrangement with us.”
Anand Menon, of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative, recently suggested that the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and some parts of Scandinavia will be among the hardest hit in Europe from a no deal Brexit.
Brussels sources have suggested that EU chiefs are now in “full no deal Brexit preparation” after giving up on the possibility of a deal with Boris Johnson.