Some people in the UK need to wake up and stop compromising our negotiating position with the EU, warns John Redwood MP.
If I went to an auction with a business partner we would not spend our time at the auction bidding against each other. We would agree the best course of action for buying the item at the lowest price, and stick to that. Only one of us would bid. We would not advertise in advance how much we wanted the item or what our bidding strategy would be.
Many in the UK think we do need to negotiate a settlement over trade and residual financial matters with the EU when we leave. Yet there are businesses, senior officials past and present, many Opposition MPs and others who ought to know better, trying to tell the other side in advance how generous our offers might be, and trying to bid us up all the time to make better and better offers!
There is no point in making any offer until the negotiations begin. Nor should we offer to pay for things that are properly ours without paying. We have every right to leave the EU, under our own laws and under the Treaty we signed. We have every right to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders without having to pay for the privilege, and without having to dilute that control.
The only thing we need to discuss with our former partners is what new relationship we will have on departure. The main part of that is trade. I see no need to offer money or EU control of our borders in order to carry on importing from the continent. I think they will be all too relieved to be able to carry on exporting to us after Brexit. Some people in the UK need to wake up to the reality of how you do well in an auction or a negotiation. They also need to understand that no deal is better than a bad deal, as there is little we want from the EU. Our trade is not at risk, and can be pursued successfully one way or another as soon as the rest of the EU decides whether they want to pay tariffs on their exports to us or not.