The outspoken Tory Brexiteer, Mark Francois has made an unprecedented move of writing a letter to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in an attempt to intervene in trade talks.
Yes, while we’ve all been preoccupied with coronavirus and anti-racism protests, the small matter of Brexit is still rumbling on in the background and actually hasn’t been completed yet.
Yes, more than four years after the initial referendum, officials are still trying to draw up a trade deal which has been made harder because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That being said, face-to-face talks have begun this week with the UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, and his EU counterpart, Barnier in Brussels to ramp up the negotiations, which have to be completed before the deadline of December 31 after Boris Johnson announced that the transition period would not be extended.
Francois, who hasn’t always painted the best picture of himself when it comes to Brexit, has penned a letter to Barnier to make clear what his position is as the chairman of the European Research Group, a collective of Tory Eurosceptics that used to contain the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove and Priti Patel but is now just Francois, David Jones and Andrea Jenkyns, the latter of which shared Francois letter on Twitter.
Oh boy! Where to begin with this…
Firstly why does he start it with the phrase ‘a missive from a free country?’ He might have thought that it sounded intimidating but all it translates as is ‘a letter from a free country.’ Barnier is hardly going to be quaking in his boots…
Next, he appears to be annoyed that the EU hasn’t consulted the ERG, despite *checks notes* not a single one of them currently holding a position as a cabinet minister.
Francois then goes on to get very uppity about the European Court of Justice, claiming that there is ‘no way they can be allowed to have any role in the UK’s national life after the end of this year.’ That’s all well and good but unfortunately for Francois the ECJ will have a role in the UK after the end of 2020. In October 2019, the government renegotiated the withdrawal agreement and the contentious ‘Irish backstop’ for a new Northern Ireland protocol which will allow the ECJ to have jurisdiction to enforce EU rules in Northern Ireland.
Francois goes on to offer his support for Frost and hopes that the EU will find the points he has made in the letter ‘useful.’ He then ends on what he feels must have been his Churchill moment where he delivers a speech which will galvanize the nation:
In summary, all I and my colleagues ever wanted is to live in a free country, which elects it’s own Government and makes its own laws and then lives under them in peace. We have come a very long way in securing this objective and we have no intention of abandoning it, either now or in the future.
So much to unpack, so little time.
Unfortunately for Francois, we can’t be sure that Barnier will actually read his letter but a lot of people on Twitter did and they quite frankly thought it was ridiculous.
If there is any silver lining from this it’s that Brexit will definitely be over soon and we hopefully won’t have to listen to anything like this again…