Farage Backs Clean Break Brexit, Warns EU Treaty Will ‘Haunt’ UK

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Brexit Party leader and former MEP, Nigel Farage arrives to appear on the Andrew Marr Show at BBC Television Centre on February 2, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson should lead a “clean break Brexit” from the EU rather than try to salvage negotiations with the bloc, warning that any new treaty with Brussels “will come back to haunt us in the years ahead”.

On Friday, Prime Minister Johnson announced that because negotiations with the EU were failing, the UK should prepare to leave the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms at the end of the transition period on January 1st, 2021. While some Brexiteers heaped praise on Boris Johnson for making the announcement, others noted that he technically did not pull out of negotiations, only saying that the UK should prepare for no deal.

Writing in the Express on Sunday, Mr Farage observed that “crucially, we have not left the room”, adding: “But we have been here before many times, when tough words from both sides of this negotiation lead in the end to a compromise.”

Eurocrats also appeared to brush off Mr Johnson’s remarks on Friday as merely a threat, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen responding that same afternoon that “the EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price. As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations.”

The rhetoric did appear to escalate, which a Number 10 spokesman telling the EU in response that there is “no point” in its chief negotiator Michel Barnier coming on Monday, unless the EU was prepared to make serious concessions. Indeed, Barnier has not travelled to London today as previously planned.

The Johnson administration’s posturing weakened, however, when senior minister Michael Gove told the BBC on Sunday that the door on negotiations had not been slammed shut but was “ajar”.

“We hope that the EU will change their position – we’re certainly not saying that if they do change their position that we can’t talk to them,” Mr Gove said on The Andrew Marr Show.

While still not making the cross-Channel trip, Mr Barnier is said to be having a video call with his British counterpart David Frost on Monday afternoon, with Brussels insiders anticipating talks to resume in days.

A senior European Union diplomat told The Guardian that they had not expected the impasse to last for long.

Mr Farage had said earlier this month that he thinks a deal, with compromises, was the most likely outcome and still puts a “75 per cent probability” on that happening.

“I still believe that the most likely outcome will be a deal based on the withdrawal agreement with both sides claiming victory and insisting that their red lines have been maintained,” Mr Farage wrote, predicting an agreement on a deal that will see the French “give a little on fishing” and the UK having to “promise to keep broadly but not directly aligned to EU state aid rules”.

While he anticipates a deal will be the most likely outcome, he warned that in the future, it would prove to be worse compared to a WTO exit.

“In the longer term, being completely free of the EU is our route to future prosperity and will be the best outcome,” Mr Farage said, adding: “If, as I suspect, we do a deal on the basis of a new EU treaty, there are issues that will come back to haunt us in the years ahead. Come on Boris, let’s have that clean break Brexit.”

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