Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh has called on his party to back Prime Minister Boris Johnson “to the hilt” as he attempts to end the Brexit deadlock.
Sir Edward Leigh said that the country “wants a deal and we’re willing to compromise” but that if the EU refused to “a reasonable deal that allows us to be a sovereign country” they should support the Conservative leader.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “When I was a spear carrier in the Brexit referendum […] we assured the British people that a trade deal was entirely achievable.
“So can I urge my right honourable friend to make one last effort, and surely that deal is achievable because we have no intention of lowering our standards.
“But the EU should know that if he cannot secure that deal for us this parliamentary party will back him to the hilt, because strength comes with unity.”
In response the PM outlined two key sticking points over the ability to punish the UK for not complying with EU rules and control over fishing waters.
We want a deal and we're willing to compromise.
But if the EU refuses to agree to a reasonable deal that allows us to be a sovereign country, we will back the PM to the hilt. pic.twitter.com/EWK2tctD9S
— Sir Edward Leigh MP (@EdwardLeighMP) December 9, 2020
He said: “ I don’t believe those are terms that any Prime Minister of this country should accept.
“But I must tell the house and reassure my Right Honourable friend that whether the terms on which we deliver our new trading arrangements resemble those of Australia’s or Canada with the EU, I have absolutely no doubt that from January the first this country is going to prosper mightily.”
Mr Johnson will fly to Brussels later to speak to European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen as the deadline of December 31 approaches.
After that date, the UK will stop following EU trading rules.
It is hoped the dinner will allow negotiations, which have stalled, to continue over the coming days.