Labour has blasted the Prime Minister for wrecking the nation’s chances of obtaining a successful Brexit deal by turning the UK into “laughing stock” across Europe.
Shadow education secretary Andrea Rayner said Theresa May has “made us look like ogres” because of her aggressive stance towards the EU.
Speaking during the run up to the June 8 general election, Rayner told the BBC that May’s posturing was the opposite of the reasoned and sensible dialogue needed for a smooth exit and advantageous trade deal.
She made clear Labour does not accept that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.
Rayner said: “Saying that you are going to be a bloody difficult woman right at the start of negotiations tends to make sure that you do get a bad deal, rather than actually working with our partners across Europe to get the best deal for Britain.”
“At the moment, unfortunately, Theresa May – in the way that she has handled it – has made us look like ogres across Europe. If you see the pictures now, Theresa May is at the back of the queue whenever she is talking to the leaders in Europe – we are a laughing stock.”
Senior ministers David Davis and Boris Johnson contributed to Britain not being taken seriously because they “laugh and smirk and think it’s all one big laugh”, Rayner told the Today programme.
The attack came as Brexit secretary Davis signalled that the UK will crash out of the negotiations if the EU doesn’t offer a deal that allows “free and frictionless trade”.
He said: “If we can’t have one, then we will have to design our strategy accordingly – which is why we have said no deal is better than a bad deal.”
Despite the rhetoric EU leaders don’t believe the Tories’ threat to walk away from the negotiations, due to the severe damage it would do to the British economy.
In speech later today, the Prime Minister will admit “economic prosperity will suffer, job and livelihoods will be put at risk” if no deal is reached – leaving schools and hospitals deprived of funding.