EXCL Dominic Raab calls on Theresa May not to 'cower in a corner' in Brexit negotiations
A Government minister has called on Theresa May not to "cower in a corner" as she tries to strike a Brexit deal with Brussels.
Dominic Raab said the Government risked looking as though it was "afraid of our own shadow" rather than aiming for an ambitious withdrawal agreement.
The Prime Minister has been accused of conceding too much to EU negotiators in areas such as the size of the Brexit divorce bill.
Expressing his frustration at the progress made so far, housing minister Mr Raab said British negotiators must show "political ambition" in order to get the best possible deal for the country.
In an interview with The House magazine, the Brexiteer said the Government must come up with an aspirational message on Brexit – and not allow “the din of criticism to swallow up the debate”.
He said: “Britain is a great country. We’ve got a huge amount going for us, from our commercial nous and the ability of our entrepreneurs, through to English as the lingua franca for business, for law, and all those cultural soft power aspects.
“I think we should go into these negotiations with a bit of economic self-confidence. The economy has held up and proved far more resilient than some of the naysayers suggested. We should go into it with political ambition. So, yes, mitigate the risks but we should grasp the opportunities.
“One thing I get nervous about, or anxious, is that we don’t cower in a corner so fixated on the risk that we look somehow afraid of our own shadow. Britain is a hell of a lot better than that.
“So, yes, let’s take the risks seriously. I don’t want to be cavalier about that. But let’s also grasp the opportunities. If we do that and we show a team effort, then this country will go on to bigger, better things.”
He continued: “We need to really make sure that we come up with that aspirational message, we are talking about the tangible opportunities, and do not allow the din of criticism to swallow up the debate.”
Mr Raab said leaving the EU could the standard living improve as prices fall, which he argued was an “inexorable result of an energetic and liberal approach to free trade”.
“So, let’s talk about the upsides and manage down the risk sides. I think that’s the key to a sensible, balanced approach to Brexit,” he said.
The Government’s flagship Withdrawal Bill finally passed through Parliament this week before Theresa May heads to an EU summit later this month.
Mr Raab called on his party to show “a bit more unity of purpose” as Brexit proceeds to the next phase.