DOMINIC RAAB has warned Brussels must be aware the UK is “serious” about the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal.
The new Foreign Secretary has said under Theresa May, the Government spent too much time saying they would extend Article 50, which showed “weakness and the wrong signals to Brussels”. Mr Raab resigned in protest at Mrs May’s constant compromise with the EU but has been brought back to serve in Mr Johnson’s Government. The former Brexit minister’s new role has also seen him promoted to the Prime Minister’s deputy.
He said in an interview with The Times: “I think they ought to have a very clear signal right across all the key players in the cabinet that we’re serious about this.
“But I also said equally in the same breath that we didn’t think it was necessary, likely or desirable.”
During the Conservative leadership campaign, Mr Raab made it clear he would be willing to leave the EU on October 31 without a deal if he was the Tory leader.
He was knocked out of the contest early on but quickly threw his weight behind Mr Johnson who has also vowed to deliver on the EU referendum result by the Halloween deadline, “do or die”.
When he became Foreign Secretary last week, the Esher and Walton MP said the UK must leave the EU by the end of October as the country “must get finality for this Brexit process”.
The former Brexit Secretary said it will be the choice of Brussels if the UK leaves with a deal or not and spoke about how the UK should be grateful for President Donald Trump for acting so warmly towards the UK.
He said in The Times interview: “We are making it clear there’s a deal to be done, but the EU needs to move.
“I explained how pleased we were to have a US administration, including the president, speaking so warmly about this country.
“We’ve got a president who has spoken about this country with the kind of warmth we haven’t heard for quite a long period of time.
“Now people will have their views and it’s quite right that in domestic politics, pundits and politicians are free to express them about any leader.
“But I’m delighted that we’ve got a US president talking about this country with such warmth.”
Mr Raab is due to travel to Latin America and Asia to visit countries which are willing to access the British market.
The foreign secretary also warned said it could take more than a solution to the Irish backstop to find a deal.
He said: “It would be totally unrealistic — an ivory tower perspective — to think that after a deal that has failed at least three times in the Commons, which has precipitated the resignation of the prime minister and leadership contest, which has been based around this issue, that somehow we’re going to airbrush all that aside and that there would go back to the previous deal.”
Mr Raab described the backstop as “most obvious glaring flaw in the deal”, but admitted there were other issues.
We are making it clear there’s a deal to be done, but the EU needs to move