The former Work and Pensions Secretary launched a blistering attack against the EU accusing it of hiding its weaknesses and fears behind an aggressive attitude at the negotiating table.
As the key EU summit in June approaches, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green warned it’s time for the UK to change its “amicable” attitude and stand its ground, because the bloc is the weaker player in the game.
He said: “Too often it seems as though it is the UK which negotiates as a supplicant when, as the EU’s largest trade partner, there is a great deal that is at stake for the EU if these negotiations go wrong.”
Mr Duncan Smith argued that there are two post-Brexit outcomes terrifying the bloc.
Too often it seems as though it is the UK which negotiates as a supplicant when, as the EU’s largest trade partner, there is a great deal that is at stake for the EU if these negotiations go wrong
He said: “They are petrified that the UK will leave the EU and become a serious trade competitor thus not only damaging the EU’s trading position but also emboldening those in the EU who are beginning to question the purpose of this centralised, protectionist behemoth.”
He added the EU was acting like a “playground bully” while nationalist forces were gaining power across the continent.
The threat of a US-led trade war is also threatening to tear apart the fragile political and financial union.
During a three-day round of talks held last week, an EU official went as far as branding the UK’s proposals on the Galileo project and the Irish border “fantasy”.
But, Mr Duncan Smith said, such an “intransigence” will turn against the EU if Britain fails to reach a trade arrangement with the bloc because of the union’s behaviour, as “the EU 27 are growing wary of the EU’s arrogant game plan” fearing they will lose access to the thriving British market because of it.
Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to make substantial progress on the Irish border during the EU summit taking place in June 28-29, but approaching to the meeting as supplicants won’t do any good to the UK, the MP argued.
Brexit news: Iain Duncan Smith MP said the EU is ‘petrified’ that the UK will leave the EU
Mr Duncan Smith said: “It is there when having placed our enhanced border arrangements (Maxfac) on the table we should say that we are not prepared to discuss this further.
“Determined to remain at the table at all costs, we have twisted ourselves into knots redefining phrases like alignment and backstops and partnerships in our attempts to meet the EU’s endless and arrogant demands.”
Mr Duncan Smith believes that paying the EU with the same coin by “changing our negotiating stance accordingly” would allow the UK settle key disputes and deliver Brexit on time.