Well I know a lot of you are very pleased with the result of the UK General Election and you view it as a victory for the EU. Let me give you a sense of perspective, in the 2015 General Election just 13 percent of voters voted for parties, namely UKIP which was the only one, that wanted to leave the European Union. Last Thursday over 85 percent of British voters voted for parties on a manifesto not just of leaving the European Union, but of leaving the Single Market as well. In fact on the morning of the General Election 70 percent of the British public, whichever way they voted in the referendum, simply wanted the government to get on and to complete and to conclude Brexit. Now I know that Theresa’s terrible campaign has cast a bit of doubt on this and I saw that Emmanuel Macron yesterday, a call echoed by Mr Verhofstadt this morning, said that there’s still time for the United Kingdom to change its mind, you don’t have to leave.
Let me tell you the only certainty in this mess is that we will be leaving. But that hasn’t stopped a parade of former Prime Ministers and of former European Commissioners lining up and attempting to get the British Government to backslide on its commitments. There is now a big push, a big drive for us to opt for a Norway-style option and I have to confess that your chief negotiator Mr Barnier is right because it took Theresa May nine months to trigger Article 50 and by the time the talks start it will be nearly four months since it was triggered. So I do accept that we go into this with as a British government, a British Prime Minister, in a very weak position. And she’s caught in a bit of a pincer movement because the political class would like us to stay in the Customs Union, to stay in the Single Market. But the people have it perfectly clear that they want to leave both of those things and I would say this, that unless Theresa May, and it’s difficult for her because she never really believed in Brexit, but unless Theresa May stands up at the summit next week and at those negotiations and makes it absolutely clear that she’s not giving an inch, that we are leaving the Single Market, unless she does those things her own party will get rid of her and then yet more time will be lost in the Article 50 process.