Brexit: Alexandra Phillips says 'betrayal' happened in December
However, former Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips immediately hit back – by telling the Tory MP for Wycombe he should not have followed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lead by voting for the Withdrawal Agreement in the first place just over a year ago. Mr Baker, the former chairman of the ERG, was responding to a tweet by economist Mujtaba Rahman, formerly an adviser at HM Treasury.
Mr Rahman said: “@10DowningStreet pessimism on UK/EU talks is tactical – to extract more out of EU on fish; & to delay a deal to the very last minute to limit Parliament’s time to scrutinise the detail
“Govt especially worried about Brexit-supporting lawyers waiting to analyse it for Tories’ ERG.”
Mr Baker commented: “If a deal will fall apart on inspection, then don’t agree to it.
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These would have been wise words to tell yourself back before the WAB was passed
“The idea MPs can be bounced into voting for a bad deal in the hope they will then have to support it afterwards is toxic: it would be despicable to do it.
“So I would not expect the Government to try.”
However, Ms Phillips, who was one of 29 Brexit Party MEPs elected in May of last year, replied: “These would have been wise words to tell yourself back before the WAB was passed.”
Her remark is indicative of the deep-seated unhappiness within the Brexit Party at Mr Johnson’s decision to sign the Withdrawal Agreement in the first place.
Speaking earlier this month, her former colleague in Brussels Rupert Lowe told Express.co.uk: “He should never, ever have accepted that once he won the election.
“And he had between December 12, when he was elected with an 80-seat majority and I think it was January 23 or 24, a full six or seven weeks, when he could have said to the Europeans ‘I am signing nothing, I am not going to sign these documents unless you radically change them.
“Then he would not be accused of breaching treaties and things he is now being accused of.
“But I do not think he has a command of the details, that is the problem.”
Her remark also underlines the unease with which Brexit Party MEPs regard Mr Johnson currently.
Speaking after Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen released a joint statement at the weekend confirming trade deal talks would be extended, David Bull told Express.co.uk: “I’ve never seen a bigger pantomime in my life and it is exactly what we were expecting.
“Look at the language of that statement. The fact that it is a joint statement is really fishy for a start.
“There is also no deadline for the ongoing talks, which is also really suspicious.
“Also the political language has changed dramatically so it’s all about being constructive and working together.
“I thought ‘well hang on a minute, we weren’t saying that last week.
“I think the whole thing is orchestrated.”
Suggesting both sides were effectively running down the clock, he added: “Reading between the lines, that statement means there is no way there is a no-deal.
“We’ve been fairly quiet and watching and waiting and we believed the Prime Minister when he said he was trying to negotiate the best deal possible.
“Now clearly, from what it says on my Twitter feed and Facebook, people are livid.
“They must think that people are stupid, because it is obvious what they are doing.
“If it is a sell-out, and if it is BRINO, then yes we are ready to come back and take them on.”
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