EXCL Michael Howard: Michel Barnier acting like he has defeated Britain in a war
Former Conservative leader Michael Howard has launched a blistering attack on the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
The Brexit-backing grandee said the French former minister was acting as though his country had beaten the UK in a war and was taking advantage of it as a result.
Brexit negotiations appear to have reached a deadlock with major disagreements on the size of the so-called ‘divorce bill’ and the future of the Irish border.
Mr Barnier has insisted in the past that he has no wish to “punish” the UK, but Lord Howard argued the opposite.
Speaking at a Brexit Central event in central London last night, he said: “I had hoped we would be able to sit down with our former partners in the EU and have a friendly discussion and construct an amicable divorce.”
“I’m afraid my hopes have been disappointed.”
He added: “Mr Barnier seems to be acting as the representative of a country that has just won a war and is determined to exact the maximum amount of reparations from a vanquished, defeated country.
“But we are not a vanquished, defeated country.”
The peer backed an idea for the EU’s Brexit bill to go through an independent arbitration process that both sides would be legally bound by afterwards.
Speaking about the ‘divorce bill’ last week, Mr Barnier said: “I can say that there’s no exit bill, it’s not a matter of punishment. That’s not that way I think and it never will be."
In April Lord Howard raised eyebrows when he said disagreements over the future of Gibraltar - since resolved - could turn into the next Falklands war.