Penny Mordaunt says EU needs to accept ‘cold hard facts’
Addressing the Paymaster General in the Commons, the SNP MP claimed the Government had made itself “hostage to its own Brexit right-wing” MPs and accused the UK negotiators of using “appalling language against the EU” causing the ongoing deadlock in the talks. But Penny Maurdant was prompt to debunk Mr Wishart’s claim as she sent a stern warning to the EU. She said: “In my experience of all aspects of these negotiations I think they have been done constructively and there has been a good report there.
“What I would say though is that the critical factor in this is the EU recognising that the UK is a sovereign equal in these negotiations?
“That can be laid on the table in a charming way but that is the bottom line, that is the cold hard facts of this situation.
“I would appeal to the EU to not just recognise that fact but put the interest of the citizens and businesses in their own member states first, above any political project, above the political imperatives of the Commission.
“That is what we should all be doing and the negotiating position of the United Kingdom is one that creates that mutual beneficial outcome.
“And I’m hopeful that the EU will recognise that before the time runs out.”
The Cabinet Office minister said Boris Johnson met with the Commission President in Brussels on Wednesday along with chief negotiators to discuss the “significant obstacles” in Brexit talks.
She told MPs: “It is clear that we remain far apart on the so-called level playing field, fisheries and governance.
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“However, they agreed that talks should resume in Brussels today to see if the gaps can be bridged.
“They also agreed that a decision should be taken by Sunday regarding the future of the talks.”
Ms Mordaunt said the only deal that is possible is one which is “compatible with our sovereignty”.
She told the Commons: “We are working tirelessly to get a deal but we cannot accept a deal at any cost. We cannot accept a deal that would compromise the control of our money, our laws, borders and our fish.
“The only deal that is possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, trade and waters.
“As the Prime Minister has said, whether we agree trading arrangements resembling those of Australia or Canada, the United Kingdom will prosper as an independent nation.”
She added: “We will continue to keep the House updated as we seek to secure a future relationship with our EU friends that respects our status as a sovereign equal and independent country.”
Brexit deal has to 'take back control' says Penny Mordaunt
Shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves said there is a sense of “huge dismay” that progress was not achieved on Wednesday.
Ms Reeves told MPs: “The country was hoping for a breakthrough last night, yet there was none. There is a sense of huge dismay as we all wanted to hear significant progress but we heard more about the Prime Minister’s meal than we did about his deal.
“In fact, we have not heard from the Prime Minister at all, even though he was supposed to be taking charge of these negotiations.
“On Sunday we’ll have just 18 days to go until the end of the transition period, how has it come to this? Businesses desperately trying to plan need to know what on earth is going on.
“If the talks break down and Government pursues no-deal, what happens next?
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“Will the Government look to swiftly restart negotiations or does the Government believe there should be no talks next year, or even for the rest of this Parliament? Or, have the Government not thought that far ahead?”
Responding to Rachel Reeves, Penny Mordaunt admitted the situation is “gloomy”.
The Paymaster General told MPs: “We are going to do everything we can to secure a deal. It is the best outcome … and we are going to leave no stone unturned and we will carry on in talks, we will carry on negotiating until there is no hope of that happening.
“But at the moment there is hope of that happening, even though things do appear gloomy.
“I appreciate also that members of the House are very concerned about these matters. Ministers are always happy to come and answer questions and update as much as we can on these issues.
“I would say to all colleagues, and particularly those on the Opposition benches, that in calling urgent questions or asking other questions on the floor of the House with the expressed mission of trying to undermine our negotiating position by pretending we are not ready for any outcome that these negotiations might yield, I think, is not helping securing the outcome that we all want and it is certainly not in the interests of the country.”
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