Brexit Battle: UK Euroskeptic Accused of 'Lying' Over German Veto Claims

© AFP 2022 / Odd AndersenGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes British Prime Minister David Cameron as he arrives for an informal meeting at the Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, central Germany on April 25, 2016.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes British Prime Minister David Cameron as he arrives for an informal meeting at the Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, central Germany on April 25, 2016. - Sputnik International
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Former UK government minister and prominent Euroskeptic Iain Duncan Smith, has been accused of "lying to his own people" after claiming that Germany had a secret veto over what types of reforms Britain could demand during its EU membership renegotiation.

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Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned as the government's Work and Pensions Secretary in March, sparked the controversy after alleging that UK Prime Minister David Cameron watered down key demands relating to restrictions for EU migrants, coming to the UK on the insistence of Germany.

The former Conservative Party leader even claimed there was an empty chair — known as the 'German chair' — in Downing Street, which featured as a symbol of influence Berlin held in the negotiations.

"It's like they were sitting in a room, even when they were not there," he told British tabloid, the Sun.

"There was a spare chair for them — called the German Chair. They have had a de facto veto over everything."

Duncan Smith said Cameron dropped demands for greater border control from a November 2014 speech; an incident that he believes highlighted the German influence over British negotiations.

"I saw the draft… I know that right up until the midnight hour, there was a strong line in there about restricting the flow of migrants from the European Union — an emergency break on overall migration," he said.

That was dropped, literally the night before. And it was dropped because the Germans said ‘if that is in the speech, we will have to attack it.' The whole thing was shown to them.

"The Germans said from the outset, you are not getting border control. Full stop."

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'Lying to His Own People'

While fellow Euroskeptics used the claims to push for Britain to leave the EU, others accused Duncan Smith of blatantly lying.

"This, I think, is just not true," German MEP and senior negotiator during the talks, Elmar Brok, told the BBC.

"Britain got what is possible under these circumstances and that was a great success story.

"It is not easy to sell in countries like Poland and others that Britain got this special right and therefore Duncan Smith is trying to explain to its people that Germany has a direct impact on British policy, that is just wrong. Mr Duncan Smith is lying to his own people."

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