The leader of a campaigning group for British migrants in Spain and across Europe has slammed Brexit minister David Frost’s negotiations in an open letter.
Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain, told Frost that Brits can grasp that the deal he made with the EU and praised is the same deal he later labelled as “unworkable”.
She said: “You may think the British public are too stupid to grasp that the ‘unworkable’ deal you despise now is, in fact, the same amazing deal you previously touted.
“I’ll confess that, like many a pro-European, the idea that the British public – or at least those supporting Brexit – are stupid, has crossed the mind.
“But I think you, and perhaps the prime minister too, are slightly smarter than you appear. Having persuaded a large swathe of the country to want to forget about Brexit altogether is, perhaps, your one success.”
Cabinet ministers strengths are ‘support for Brexit and Boris Johnson’
Wilson criticised Frost’s “apparent bolshiness” and “inappropriate threats”, suggesting they did not help gain back the trust of UK’s “European friends”.
She questioned whether the Brexit negotiator’s tactics have been deliberately trying to undermine relationships with the bloc, or if it was down to how fitting Frost is for the role.
“The Cabinet is full of ministers out of their depth, whose only ‘strengths’ are their support for Brexit and their unwillingness to criticise the boss,” she said.
She added: “While you continue to get stroppy, and underestimate your negotiating partners, the UK is collapsing under the strain.
“The ports are not ready, despite having had years to prepare. Businesses are struggling with staff shortages and supply chain issues. Prices are rising and shelves are empty.
“And still no sign of the sunlit uplands or the ‘benefits’ of leaving the EU.”
Wilson also criticised the UK’s intention to unilaterally suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol, and she warned it is not just the EU who will not be “impressed”, but also other countries considering trade deals with Britain.
“Maybe it’s just all for show, and only designed to please the Brexit devotees,” she said.
Wilson thinks the EU will listen to UK’s proposals and be flexible “as much as protecting their members, market and international commitments allow”.
But she said many were surprised at the government’s “unwillingness to honour an international treaty, that it had not only negotiated, but had signed in good faith – or so we thought.”
She ended her letter highlighting there is a plethora of advice for “would-be negotiators”: “I’m sure you have had some training already, but I suspect your response in the classroom was similar to your dealings with the EU – a failure to listen and too little humility.
“I won’t insult you with specific recommendations – I’m sure you can manage a Google search all on your own. But I would suggest you avoid the Harvard Business School’s ‘Everyone can be a negotiator’, as that’s clearly not the case.”