'˜Take a leaf out of Trump's book', Sammy Wilson tells Brexit minister

The UK's Brexit Minister Dominic Rabb should learn from the way Donald Trump 'extracted commitments from EU countries' by adopting a position of 'strength, determination' and making 'credible threats', East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has said.

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 10:04 am
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 11:24 am

The DUP MP has argued that the UK “still has significant leverage” when it comes to the Brexit negotiations.

Mr Wilson said: “As Dominic Rabb, the Brexit Minister, heads to Brussels to undertake the latest leg in the negotiations, with the EU he should take a lesson from how Donald Trump has successfully extracted commitments from EU countries to spend more on defence and has persuaded Jean Claude Juncker to reduce EU tariffs on American goods and give American farmers greater access to EU markets.

“Only weeks ago, there was no sign of any such willingness of the EU countries to reconsider their selfish one-sided approach to dealing with these issues but by threatening to reduce the US commitment to the defence of Europe and imposing draconian tariffs on EU products being sold in America, Donald Trump has forced the arrogant leaders of Europe into an about turn.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

US President Donald Trump

He continued: “Some people argue that the UK is not in as strong a position when it comes to resting concessions from the EU because internal divisions within the Cabinet, detrimental parliamentary arithmetic and early nonsensical concessions given to the EU have weakened our negotiating hand.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The UK still has significant leverage if there is a political will to use it. Dominic Rabb has made a good start by indicating that he will attach conditions to any payments which the UK will make to the EU so potentially he could blow a £40billion hole in their bloated budget, a hole which the struggling EU nations would find hard to fill. He has the strong hand of threatening trade barriers against EU goods coming into the UK, trade on which millions of EU jobs depend and a trade surplus which bolsters EU economies. Preparations for a no deal would have severe implications for economies such as the Irish, French and Germans and whilst it may cause some short term disruption, proper preparations for that disruption could minimise the impact as already been indicated by a number of international agencies.”

Mr Wilson continued: “From a Northern Ireland perspective he needs to make it clear that however much Barnier insists that there be no withdrawal agreement without a back stop arrangement for the Northern Ireland border, the British government will not sign up to any arrangement which now or in the future, separates, or has the potential to separate, Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.”

He added: “Now is not the time to try to sweet talk the bullies in Brussels. Donald Trump has shown that they respond to strength, determination and credible threats. That should be the guiding principle for our negotiations between now and October and the role over tactics displayed during the negotiations on the withdrawal agreement must now be brought to an end.