Tory MPs have had an outburst over a “love letter” from Brussels that said Britain would always be welcome back in the EU.
The letter was penned by Frans Timmermans, the first executive vice-president of the European Commission, in The Guardian.
In it, the Dutch politician compared himself with an “old lover” of Britain. He said Brexit had done “unnecessary damage” to the country but still insisted that it will “always be welcome to come back.”
But Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader and Brexit supporter, described the letter as a “work of stunning arrogance.” Speaking to The Telegraph, he compared the letter to that of an ignorant husband who failed to see why his marriage had fallen apart.
“In his letter, he talks a lot about us, but he never talks about the EU’s failings,” Duncan Smith said. “How often do you see divorce courts filled with men who don’t know what has gone wrong? “They’ve taken the marriage for granted for so long that they don’t realise the relationship is a complete mess.”
He argued that it isn’t Britain that is leaving the EU, but quite the opposite, and said that the decision to introduce the Euro as the single currency had created “stagnation across Europe”.
Expanding on the divorce metaphor, fellow Conservative MP Nigel Evans said that “just because the marriage ends, it doesn’t mean the love affair can’t continue”.
“I understand the emotion in Mr Timmermans’ letter,” he told The Telegraph. “But just because we’re not fans of the EU doesn’t mean we don’t love Europe. We still want a warm relationship with the rest of Europe.”
The decisive victory of the Conservative Party and, hence, pro-Brexit sentiment in the December general election, finally cleared the way for Britain’s departure to happen.
MPs have already backed the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, previously negotiated with the European Union in the House of Commons, and the bill is on course to pass through both houses of parliament by the end of January.