“What is unthinkable is that this government, or any British government, could be bullied by the threat of some kind of economic embargo, into signing a one-sided deal against our country’s interests,” Brexit minister Dominic Raab said on Monday.
Raab, addressing a ruling Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, said the EU has shown no sign of pragmatism in responding to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposals, adding that “respect” for Britain and its Brexit plan was ascent from a recent EU summit in Salzburg, Austria.
“Unfortunately, that wasn’t on display in Salzburg,” he said, adding, “Our prime minister has been constructive and respectful. In return we heard jibes from senior leaders and we saw a starkly one-sided approach to negotiation.”
May’s Brexit plan, known as Chequers for her country residence it was announced in early July, was met with criticism in the EU summit as bloc leaders called for a reversal of key proposals on the future trade relations and how the two sides would administer the border in the island of Ireland.
Raab said in his Monday speech to the Tory conference that he had called on the EU leaders during the Austria summit that they should match the “ambition and pragmatism” Britain had put forward with Chequers.
May’s Chequers has also sparked widespread criticism in Britain where the opposition Labour Party says it will reject a Brexit deal that comes out of the plan while senior members of May’s own Conservative Party also believe the premier should have been more stringent in her talks with Brussels.
Britain will officially leave the EU on March 29, 2019.