EU Parliament prepares to set Brexit 'red lines'

The European Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly adopted its "red lines" for tough Brexit negotiations, insisting Britain first agree divorce terms before striking a new trade deal.

"London thinks we find a flawless deal which means we take the positive points and leave the negative points".

Mr Farage, who is an MEP for South East England, had said: "You have shown yourselves with these demands to be vindictive, to be nasty, all I can say is thank goodness we're leaving".

Mr Farage predicted that many other countries would follow Britain to the exit door if the European Union stood in the way of a free trade agreement by insisting on unacceptable terms or trying to impose tariffs on United Kingdom goods and services.

At one point he was interrupted by Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament who said: "Listen, I'm trying to give you a chance to speak and say everything you want to say, but if you're. going to say this parliament is behaving like a mafia, as far as I'm concerned, that is unacceptable".

During his speech Mr Farage also claimed Britons could boycott European goods if the EU tried to impose tariffs on exports from the UK. In reaction, he said he was willing to change "mafia" to "gangsters" so not to rile Italian sensitivities. "We are being given a ransom note", Farage replied.

Barnier explained that, contrary to May's recent claims that the European Union and United Kingdom would negotiate a trade deal after settling the issues of money and citizens' rights, the second phase of talks would merely be a matter of scoping out what a possible deal would look like and coming to an agreement on a transition arrangement to cushion the UK's withdrawal on 29 March 2019.

She said there would be an "implementation" phase once a deal has been struck, for businesses and the Government to adjust to the new rules.

"We said at the time this was a fantasy, and so it has proved. We are looking for success, success not against the UK, but with the UK", Barnier added. "We want to build a better Europe, and we want to be a European Germany".

During the debate in Strasbourg Manfred Weber, chairman of the largest group of MEPs, the centre-right European People's Party, said: "Cherry-picking will not happen".

The resolution warns "against the UK engaging in bilateral talks with one or some EU member states on the withdrawal proceedings or the EU-UK future relationship".

"To succeed, we need on the contrary to devote the first phase of negotiations exclusively to reaching agreement on the principle of the exit", Barnier said.

"If the Parliament rejects the deal, there is no deal", said Danuta Hubner, a Polish MEP and president of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which will oversee the final withdrawal agreement. "Gibraltar is clearly a deal-breaker on current terms". The Government, however, has yet to set out a plan for how our borders will work post-Brexit.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted the need for a deal.

  • Leroy Wright