Brexit: EU 'exploited UK weakness' to push deal
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The Conservative MP has admitted that he voted for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal because “there was no advantage”, saying that the European Union used the UK’s political crisis during negotiations. The Prime Minister announced an agreement with the EU had been struck days after securing an 80-strong majority in the Commons but deep divisions remained within the British political scene about the future relationship with the bloc. Former Brexit Secretary Lord Frost is set to begin a new round of talks with Brussels over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Mr Jenkin said: “There’s a negotiation going on here and this particular agreement is unsatisfactory.”
Presenter Emily Maitlis chipped in: “But it was signed by both sides.”
The MP said: “It was signed at a time when the government was incredibly weak and we were gripped by a political constitutional crisis.
“And I think the EU was taking some advantage of that situation at the time.”
Ms Maitlis said: “So you think it was a terrible deal?”
Mr Jenkin said: “I personally would have been happy to vote against it.
“The only reason I voted for it is because there didn’t seem to be an alternative.
“But the point is, we can go on talking about the past.
“The point is about the future, is this agreement working?
“I think, even now the EU agrees there are aspects of this agreement that are not working.
“That’s a big shift! That’s a big change.”
The host said: “ So when the PM came back and said, ‘he hailed it as a great deal – it was a breakthrough and was signed in by Christmas’, were you sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about this is a terrible deal’.”
Mr Jenkin said: “I was thinking, I suppose he’s got to sell the deal, but it’s not a great deal.
“I thought we could live with it, and we’ve tried to live with it.
“We didn’t kick over we got a majority of 100. We didn’t suddenly kick over the table and say that’s it, we’re tearing it up.
“We’ve tried to make it work, but the fundamental point is, six months ago the EU would never have entertained any of the changes they’re now proposing.
“They’re now beginning to admit that this agreement needs to be changed.”
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