Iain Duncan Smith calls for Brexit talks ‘as soon as possible’

Posted On: 
21st August 2016

Iain Duncan Smith has sought to ramp up the pressure on Theresa May as he called on the Prime Minister to trigger Brexit “as soon as possible”.

Former minister Iain Duncan Smith
PA Images

The former frontbencher also accused Remain backers of trying to delay triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal process for quitting the EU.

The leading Brexiteer said Mrs May should initiate the mechanism “early” in 2017.

Mrs May has said she would not trigger Article 50 this year, while figures including London Mayor Sadiq Khan have argued it should be held off until late 2017 after the French and German elections next year.

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, Mr Smith said waiting for next year’s elections would be “another attempt to turn this referendum result into a 'neverendum'."

"For too long membership of the EU sapped our sense of self-worth and our self-confidence. Now we have the chance to believe in Britain again," he wrote.

"Let us leave as soon as possible, so that we can get on and make the most of our new found independence."

He urged ministers against trying to secure an “EU-lite” agreement with negotiators in Brussels once the two-year talks begin in earnest.

Any deal that would see Britain remain subject to European law would "ignore the clear message delivered by the millions of citizens who voted for Leave," he said.

"Tired of handing over billions of their hard-earned money to the wasteful EU bureaucrats, it [the referendum result] was an order from the British people to Britain's ruling elite - an order to 'take back control’,” he wrote.

"That, simply put, means control of our borders, our trade arrangements, our money and our laws.”

Mr Duncan Smith, the former work and pensions secretary, also said Britain did not require a deal that would see it remain a member of the single market.

"Being outside returns control over laws and borders and frees the UK from EU regulations, its external tariff and allows us, as a service sector economy, to position ourselves globally, set our trade deals and compete internationally, particularly in financial services,” he said.

Mrs May will attend her first meeting of the European Council in October alongside the leaders of the EU’s 27 other member states.