‘Did she really want to be so tough?’ Theresa May’s ‘weak’ Brexit approach is criticized by Frost.
Last night, as he reflected on the five years since the Brexit referendum, Lord Frost slammed into Theresa May’s failure in EU negotiations.
The minister and former lead negotiator spoke candidly about the difficulties he faced when resuming talks on the withdrawal agreement in Brussels. Lord Frost told the UK’s Changing Europe think group that he had to persuade Brussels that they were no longer dealing with the old government.
He blamed Mrs May for the failure of her negotiation tactics when she was in No 10, saying eurocrats perceived Britain as “weak.”
“There was an idea that we were the weaker party, and that if we wanted an agreement, we would have to accept certain things,” he said.
“It felt as though there was an assumption that we would want to be tightly aligned and would be willing to make certain compromises to do so.
“I believe it took them some time to realize it wasn’t true.
“There were still occasions during the negotiations when we had policy proposals attributed to us that were not our views, but those of the previous team.”
Mrs May was forced to quit as Prime Minister in the summer of 2019 after failing to gain support for her Brexit plan.
If London and Brussels failed to agree alternative arrangements by the conclusion of the transition period, the UK would have been trapped in the EU’s customs union.
The EU insisted that alignment was required to avoid a hard border on Ireland’s island.
Lord Frost, speaking last night, questioned how hard the previous government had worked to find a better answer.
“I do wonder how tough they actually wanted to be at times, and I do have my doubts,” he remarked.
“I believe there was no domestic agreement on what kind of Brexit should be pursued, and this became increasingly apparent.
“Clearly, that makes life difficult.”
He blasted the Government of the day for failing to have the vision of an independent Britain not depending on alignment to address the Northern Ireland border problem, in addition to criticizing Mrs May’s team for failing to be forceful in talks.
“I think the main problem, in my opinion, was a set of intellectual issues,” he stated.