Boris Johnson has been issued a dire warning from leading Brexiteer Richard Tice about the progression of the Brexit negotiations with the European Union. The Reform UK chairman insisted eurosceptics are currently “anxious” at the prospect of the Prime Minister “bottling it” in the final phase of talks and forcing the UK to remain closely aligned with the bloc. Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Tice said: “What we’re extremely anxious about is that Boris in his weakened, pyjama-clad state, tucked in his bedroom just wants to get problems off his desk.
“And he bottles it at the last minute. If he is tempted to do that, then I would say to Conservative advisers who advise him and to the Prime Minister, you might try that but we won’t let you live it down.
“Despite everything going on, it’s even more important than ever that we have the freedom and the opportunities to use important things like state aid, to be able to get rid of daft EU regulation when we want to, to take advantage of the opportunities with things like tourism in the fishing areas and the most deprived areas. All this stuff is so important.”
He added: “To be left with one arm tied behind our back, or both arms tied behind our back, that would be Brexit in name only. And we would not tolerate that.”
Talks with Brussels have progressed tentatively but negotiators have so far remained deadlocked on key issues such as state aid and fisheries.
UK negotiator Lord Frost headed to Brussels on Sunday ahead of the resumption of talks with his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier.
Both sides have been hoping a deal will be reached before the end of the EU Summit set to kick off on Thursday in Brussels.
EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said the UK and the EU have now reached the “last moments” to secure an agreement regulating the future trading relations between the two sides past the end of the transition period.
Mr Barnier will be updating European member states chiefs on Friday on whether a deal can still be struck before it becomes too late for the European Parliaments and parliamentarians from across the bloc to ratify it.
Should Mr Barnier deliver a positive message, leaders could provide him with more time to clinch an agreement.
One EU official described the last months’ intensive talks as “Groundhog Day” for the bloc.
While progress was made in drafting a joint legal text in areas where both sides are in agreement, they have been unable to find solutions on the most divisive issues.