Prominent Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash insisted the EU’s leaders are living in a “fantasy world” if they believe the Prime Minister will accept a worse deal than the UK already has with Brussels.
Claims from Brussels suggested Britain will be punished for its EU divorce, despite European Parliament President Donald Tusk telling Mrs May it wasn’t the case.
Diplomatic sources have suggested one of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s closest ally is behind the plot to punish the UK as it leaves the EU.
Mr Juncker’s chief of staff, Martin Selmayr is said to be “malign” to the UK, he is credited with the bloc’s insistence that Britain pays its £50 billion divorce bill.
Sir Bill Cash warned Theresa May she may have to walk away from Brexit talks
If the EU continues to live in an unreal fantasy land we may need to walk away
Sir Bill Cash
He is said to despise Foreign Secretary and has been branded a “poisonous, merciless, ruthless, manipulative bully”.
However, speaking to Express.co.uk, Sir Bill urged the Prime Minister to be ready to quit the bloc without a deal if the EU’s negotiators attempt to punish the UK.
The Brexiteer said: “You can have the threatening atmosphere they are trying to generate, to begin with, then you get down to some brass tacks and then you say, ‘You are talking to the United Kingdom, we don’t get pushed around!’
“We want to be reasonable and want to respect one another. We are tolerant people, don’t try that on in terms of intimidation.”
Sir Bill declared Mrs May will know within “six months” if she will be able to reach a deal with her European colleagues, adding he believes this won’t be needed because the Prime Minister will find “realism” when she reaches the table.
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But in a final warning to Mrs May and her negotiating team, he added: “If they carry in on in this unreal fantasy world that some people seem to be generating then I think we may need to walk away a lot sooner.”
The veteran eurosceptic also sent a warning shot to Mr Juncker and his allies, telling the Eurocrat it was for him or his colleagues to threaten Britain during negotiations.
Sir Bill said: “I don’t know who Mr Juncker thinks he is in this context.
“Actually, it is not a good idea to threaten the United Kingdom.”
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EU commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) chats with German EU Commissioner for budget and human resources Guenther Oettinger (L)
He was keen to remind European leaders Britain was a leading voice in writing off German war debt, helping them secure themselves as one of the Continent’s leading economies – and used it as an example for the UK to refuse any divorce bill.
Sir Bill continued: “I am not suggesting that we are in the same position as we were immediately after the post-war period, but I’m giving it as a precedent to demonstrate the fact that when you have no legal obligation to pay when, politically, the system you joined up becomes dysfunctional, doesn’t work and is rejected by the British people.
“That is not the time to start saying, ‘Oh, by the way, we’re going to send you a divorce bill for £50bn – it is just unrealistic.”