Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Brexit Row as Polish Minister Says Britain May Not Leave EU until 2020

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Brexit Row as Polish Minister Says Britain May Not Leave EU until 2020

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy and Nicholas Cecil

THERESA MAY'S secret Brexit plans are "slipping out day by day", as a Polish minister today said that Britain might not leave the EU until 2020.

The latest apparent disclosure came from Poland's foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski after he took part in talks with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister yesterday. "Brexit will not take place earlier than in two to three years. If it takes place at all," Mr Waszczykowski told Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita. "In the next three years, there is no need to treat Britain as a child with special needs, which is stigmatised and marginalised."

However, one Tory MP said furiously that there would be "riots" if Mrs May delayed Brexit beyond 2019. "Can you imagine the reaction if we went into the 2020 general election still a member of the EU?" he asked. "There would be riots."

Mr Waszczykowski's comments emerged a day after an aide to Tory vice-chairman Mark Field accidentally allowed her notes of a meeting in No 10 to be photographed. They revealed that ministers aimed to "have cake and eat it" during the exit talks.

Keir Starmer, Labour's Brexit spokesman, said: "The Government's secret plan for Brexit is slipping out day by day. These disclosures are significant because they suggest that the Government is not even going to fight for the single market or customs union there are huge implications for the economy and jobs. The case for Government to come clean and publish a clear plan for Brexit is now overwhelming."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the Government "doesn't have a plan or even a clue". There were reports from Berlin today that Mrs May had suffered a setback after Angela Merkel vetoed a plan to announce that 3.3 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.2 million British expats in the EU would have reciprocal rights to residency and healthcare. According to Politico, Chancellor Merkel refused to agree when Mrs May asked for a deal that could be announced before Christmas. …

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