‘The British people will be crucified’: MP’s outrage as Boris Johnson refuses to budge in Brexit talks
An MP has said British people will be “crucified” as Boris Johnson refused to compromise on a key Brexit sticking point.
With trade negotiations with the EU in crisis and time running out before the 31 December deadline, PM is to meet European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Wednesday evening for dinner to see if they can kickstart a deal.
But Johnson told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday that he could not accept the EU’s current demands.
He said: “Our friends in the EU are currently insisting that if they pass a new law in the future with which we in this country do not comply or don’t follow suit, then they want the automatic right to punish us and to retaliate.
“Secondly, they are saying that the UK should be the only country in the world not to have sovereign control over its fishing waters.
“I don’t believe that those are terms that any prime minister of this country should accept.”
Watch: Boris Johnson talks Brexit at PMQs
SNP Cabinet Office spokesman Pete Wishart said Britons were likely to suffer and that the situation was “the worst of all worlds” for Scotland.
He added: “Tonight we’re going to have the last supper, and we know it will be the British people who will be crucified.”
The protracted negotiations over a UK-EU trade deal have faltered on the issues of fishing rights, “level playing field” measures aimed at preventing the UK undercutting the EU on standards and state subsidies, and the way that any deal would be governed.
Read more: Only 26% of UK businesses are fully prepared for Brexit
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove backed the PM up, saying that “the people of this country voted to take back control and that is what this government will do”.
He added: “One thing we can’t accept in the course of the level-playing field negotiations is that the demand from some in the EU that if the EU adopts new laws that we would automatically have to follow those laws or face penalties.”
Gove, who reached a separate agreement with the EU on Tuesday on post-Brexit border checks and trading rules for Northern Ireland, admitted that NI businesses will be bound by EU law.
He also said there will be checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as part of the agreement, but that there will be “no need for border infrastructure” on the NI border with Ireland.
Responding to Labour, Gove said there will be “limited and proportionate” checks on agricultural products moving from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.
The agreement on Northern Ireland means the UK will withdraw controversial Brexit legislation that would have violated the withdrawal agreement.
Gove told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday morning he hopes Johnson’s dinner with Von der Leyen will create “further political momentum”.
“I’m hopeful that the prime minister will be able to lay out, over the course of dinner, where movement is required,” he said.
Read more: Brexit is 'biggest unconcluded disaster of modern times', MP claims
The trade talks have stagnated for months.
Both UK and EU negotiators have run up against the limits of their mandates, which has led to a breakdown in talks.
Johnson hopes he can solve any problems by speaking directly to Von der Leyen.
Watch: PM to fly to Brussels for last-minute Brexit deal dinner