Iain Duncan Smith calls for Brexit talks to begin as soon as possible
The former cabinet minister accused remain supporters of trying to delay the triggering of article 50 – marking the start of formal leaving negotiations – in the hope that it can be put off indefinitely.
Writing in the Sun On Sunday, Duncan Smith also argued Britain did not need a deal that allowed it to remain part of the European single market, saying there was a strong case in economic terms for leaving.
His intervention follows reports that the government may wait until the end of next year before invoking article 50, meaning Brexit may not happen until late 2019.
The prime minister has said only that she will not make the article 50 notification before the end of this year. Duncan Smith said she should get on with it early in 2017 rather than wait for forthcoming elections in Germany and France.
“That suggestion is yet another attempt to turn this referendum result into a ‘neverendum’,” he wrote. “For too long, membership of the EU sapped our sense of self-worth and our self-confidence. Now we have the chance to believe in Britain again. Let us leave as soon as possible, so that we can get on and make the most of our newfound independence.”
Duncan Smith warned ministers not to try to negotiate some form of “EU-lite” agreement that would see Britain remain subject to European law.
“Tired of handing over billions of their hard-earned money to the wasteful EU bureaucrats, it [the referendum result] was an order from the British people to Britain’s ruling elite – an order to ‘take back control’. That, simply put, means control of our borders, our trade arrangements, our money and our laws,” he wrote.
“What they didn’t vote for was EU-lite, or for their government to engage in negotiations where we bend the knee to Brussels and beg for some concessions whilst remaining in a customs union all the while subject to European law.”
He said Britain did not need to be a member of the single market to trade with it, and may well be better off outside. “After all, in economic terms there is a strong case to leave the single market,” he wrote. “Being outside returns control over laws and borders and frees the UK from EU regulations, its external tariff and allows us, as a service sector economy, to position ourselves globally, set our trade deals and compete internationally, particularly in financial services.”
His comments reflect the deep suspicion among many leave supporters that opponents of Brexit will try to thwart the referendum result.
May will attend her first meeting of the European council in October alongside the leaders of the EU’s 27 other member states._ the guardian