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The EU has the ‘upper hand’ in Brexit negotiations, says George Osborne

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

George Osborne has said the EU has the “upper hand” in Brexit negotiations after the Government u-turned on claims that no deal would be better than a bad deal for the UK.

The former Chancellor, who backed Remain in the referendum, said it is a “basic error” to claim that the EU relies on Britain more than the UK does on its neighbours as he warned the country is not “ready to rash out” of the union in 2019.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he also called on Theresa May to do more for voters in the north of England by committing to new transport projects.

Issuing a stark warning on Brexit he said: “You start with this basic error in the Breixt campaign which was that somehow the EU needed us more than we need the EU when the truth is we both need each other.

“We need a transitional period, Britain is not ready to crash out of the EU in spring 2019.”

He warned that the Prime Minister and her colleagues have “changed their position” after previously warning that no deal would be better for the UK than a bad deal.

“Now they are in favour of a transition”, he said, adding that because of the u-turn EU leaders now “know they’ve got the upper hand” and Britain is running to catch up.

A swathe of position papers released in recent weeks, with another today and more later this week, are designed to prove the UK is serious and get the negotiations back on track, he said.

Mr Osborne denied he is a “sore loser” after campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU during the referendum vote, which eventually led David Cameron to stand aside and make way for Mrs May.

Having spent the best part of his career working for the good of the economy, he said, a bad deal for the UK would be the worst possible outcome.

Mr Osborne is no stranger to criticising Mrs May and her plans for Brexit.

As the now editor of the London Evening Standard he has been accused of using the newspaper to put pressure on his former colleagues about leaving the union.



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