Britain is heading for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, prominent Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg has said.
Presenting a phone-in on LBC, Mr Rees-Mogg said it was likely that Britain would leave the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
His comments come after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier openly questioned whether Theresa May’s Brexit proposals were workable.
Presenting a phone-in on LBC, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I think we are heading to WTO and I think WTO is nothing to be frightened of.”
But he said talks should continue with Brussels, stating: “I think we should carry on negotiating until the end. I don’t think we necessarily need the theatrics of walking away, but the truth is that WTO is likely to be all that they will offer us.”
Government sources have insisted the Prime Minister is “standing over” the Chequers Cabinet compromise on withdrawal plans despite Mr Barnier openly questioning the credibility of the proposals in his first response to the Government’s white paper on Brexit.
Mairead McGuinness, vice president of the European Parliament and MEP for Ireland’s governing Fine Gael party, also said that Mrs May would need to abandon some of her red lines to clinch a deal.
Speaking to the BBC, she said the proposals were a “starting point”, “not an end deal”.
She said: “I think the British Prime Minister set out red lines too early on and too deeply. We are prepared to show flexibility if the British Prime Minister can show flexibility.”
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood has insisted the white paper is a workable compromise, telling the BBC: “There is no yes/yes solution here which will balance out the extreme views of the Brexiteers and the extreme views of the Remainers.
“It is therefore essential that we have compromise. And this is exactly what the white paper does.
“It means that we have for the Remainers, we have access to goods and services, a deal with Europe as well. We have financial markets as well.
“And on the Leave campaign side of things, the bill, the EU bill stops. We leave the customs union, we leave the agricultural policy, we leave the common fisheries policy, and, of course, we are able to strike our own deals.”