One of the leading pro-Brexit politicians, Iain Duncan Smith, has voiced his concerns that the Brexit negotiating team isn’t up to scratch and some more knowledgeable people may be needed…otherwise known as experts. Ignoring warnings ahead of the EU referendum vote in 2016, Brexiteer minister Michael Gove famously claimed that “people in this country have had enough of experts”. But perhaps that time is over.
“I think there are problems ahead for the UK,” Duncan Smith told BBC 5Live Politics. “One of them is the quality of the people now working on this. If you haven’t negotiated for 40 years you need to reach out to all those people that are involved in negotiations, really good transactional lawyers that exist in the City of London. Proper trade economists. We’ve got very good ones at the moment but we need to bring them in from outside.”
“The chief negotiator is fine. All I would say is behind them you need people who are looking through absolutely everything with an understanding of what to look for,” he said.
“We are up against the EU and the EU has been negotiating trade deals for 40 years. So we need to make sure we draw upon the talents of anybody that has skills in this area”
Meanwhile, France has warned the UK that it will not be “blackmailed” into accepting a “bad” post-Brexit trade deal because of Boris Johnson’s December 31 deadline.
Ministers from the 27 remaining European Union members will meet in Brussels on Tuesday to agree the negotiating mandate for the talks on the UK’s future relationship with the bloc.
Downing Street insisted the deadline would remain so that “we restore our economic and political independence on January 1”.
In a sign that the EU is prepared to take a tough line, French Europe minister Amelie de Montchalin insisted that her country’s farmers, fishermen and businesses would not pay the price for a trade deal to be in place by the end of the year.
She told TV station France 2: “In this negotiation it must be understood by British businesses that we do not want a bad agreement – almost certainly, that we will sign up to no blackmail.”